Lady Eagles edge Rams
LASKER – The Northeast Academy gym was free throw central here Friday.
The visiting Rams of Ridgecroft School and the home-standing Lady Eagles combined for 65 free throw attempts in the Tarheel Independent Conference contest between the two schools.
In the end, the Eagles came out on top of a 47-44 final score.
Ashton Liverman paced the Northeast victory with 20 points while senior Jennifer Sykes added 17 and Ivey Little checked in with an even dozen. Emily Cooke led Ridgecroft with 13 while Miller Bryant chipped in eight.
Ridgecroft got their first two points from the same place a lot of scores came from – the charity stripe. Cooke and Tayler Smith each had one point from the free throw line followed by Liverman scoring from the same spot.
The first field goal of the game came when Little scored with 5:27 to play in the first quarter. She followed that up with another hoop moments later as the Lady Eagles took a 5-2 edge.
Another Liverman free throw pushed the lead to 6-2 before Lauren Colson scored for the Lady Rams to trim the lead to 6-4 with 2:22 to play in the first quarter.
Northeast was able to push their lead to 9-4 by the period’s end thanks to Jennifer Sykes hitting a hoop and a free throw.
Ridgecroft stormed back to open the second quarter, getting a pair of hoops from Bryant and a free throw by Cooke to even the game at 9-all with 5:48 to play in the first half.
Northeast responded with a Liverman free throw and a Little hoop, but Ridgecroft got a bucket from Alexa Brown to close the gap back to one (12-11).
After free throws from Sykes and Liverman pushed the Northeast lead to 14-11, Nikki Smith closed the gap to 14-13 with 2:26 to play. Another Little hoop gave Northeast a three-point edge, but Smith and Cooke had back-to-back buckets to give the Lady Rams a 17-16 lead with 1:24 to play in the quarter.
Northeast got a hoop from Liverman and then hit 4-of-8 from the line over the closing 42 seconds of the quarter to lead 22-17. A Sara Hackney bucket closed the gap to 22-19 at the intermission.
Brice Harrison opened the scoring for Ridgecroft in the third quarter, but Sykes responded for the Lady Eagles.
The Lady Rams then got hoops from Hackney and Harrison and two free throws from Cooke to surge ahead 27-24 with 3:02 to play in the third period.
Northeast stormed back with consecutive hoops from Lacy Pfeiffer and Sykes and two free throws by Sykes to take a 30-27 edge.
Two free throws by Cooke closed the gap to one (30-29) at the end of the third period.
The fourth quarter saw the teams combine for just nine scores from the floor. Meanwhile, they attempted 30 free throws between them.
Ridgecroft led 31-30 after a Bryant hoop with 7:31 to play in the game, but Northeast came back when Liverman hit two from the charity stripe.
Bryant again put her team ahead and Harrison scored and hit a free throw at the four-minute mark to extend the Lady Rams’ lead to 37-32.
Sykes sparked a 4-1 run for the Lady Eagles with a hoop at the 3:49 mark that was followed by a Liverman basket 24 seconds later when Northeast closed the gap to 38-36.
Two Cooke free throws gave Ridgecroft a 40-36 edge with 2:59 to play.
The Lady Eagles didn’t give in, however, as Liverman hit 1-of-2 from the line and Sykes scored and added a free throw to deadlock the score at 40-all with 2:46 on the clock.
Colson scored to put the Lady Rams back ahead and an exchange of hoops left the Rams ahead 44-42 with 2:13 to play.
Northeast tied the score on a Liverman hoop with 1:26 to play and then made 3-of-7 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Ridgecroft missed both of its opportunities from the charity stripe.
Overall, the Rams were 12-of-25 from the line while Northeast finished the contest 19-of-40 from the charity stripe.
Northeast was at home Monday for a non-league matchup with Northampton County High School-East before hosting Albemarle School on Friday.
Ridgecroft hosts Hobgood Academy tonight (Tuesday) in a TIC outing and then welcomes Terra Ceia Christian School on Friday.