Rams knock off Northeast

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, January 13, 2010

LASKER – Ten days ago, it was a close game.

Friday night, Ridgecroft jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and never looked back, downing Northeast Academy 63-48 in a Tarheel Independent Conference contest.

Braxton Sumner paced the Rams with 23 points while Michael Byrum was also in double digits with 10. Miles Harrell added nine points. Jud Smith paced the Eagles with 15 points while Logan Wheeler added nine and Cody Fleetwood checked in with eight.

Ridgecroft scored early and often in the early going, getting a free throw from Ethan Phelps that started a 7-0 spurt. Phelps, Sumner and Byrum each scored during the run.

Smith got the Eagles on the board with 3:30 to play in the first quarter, but Harrell followed with a bucket for the Rams. Smith scored again to close the gap to 9-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Ridgecroft kept going in the second quarter when Byrum and Scott Lowe hit back-to-back shots followed by a Harrell triple that gave the Rams a 16-4 lead with 5:45 to play in the second quarter.

Smith sparked a pair of shots to get the Eagles going, only to see Nathan Pierce respond for Ridgecroft.

The Eagles then got a pair of free throws from Smith and a Cody Fleetwood bucket to close the gap to 20-10.

Sumner hit a three-pointer for Ridgecroft with 1:06 to play in the first half before James Pope hit 2-of-3 from the free throw line. Sumner’s two free throws with 30 ticks left on the second period clock gave the Rams a 25-12 lead at the intermission.

Pierce hit two free throws to begin the third quarter and then Sumner had four straight points as Ridgecroft pushed their lead to 31-12.

Northeast finally got on the board again with 6:10 to play in the quarter, but Ridgecroft came right back with a Phelps hoop and two shots by Harrell from the charity stripe as they led 35-14 with 4:33 remaining in the quarter.

Fleetwood scored for the Eagles, but Ridgecroft rolled off six unanswered including back-to-back hoops from Byrum as they rolled to a 41-16 lead with 3:50 to play.

The Rams led 51-22 after three quarters and, despite Northeast outscoring their visitors, 26-12 in the final quarter, Ridgecroft cruised to the victory.

“We finally put together a complete game,” said first-year Rams’ skipper Brandon Hodges. “Coach (Danny) Lafferty and I are proud of the way these young men are working hard and trying to get better every day.”

The Rams host Hobgood Academy tonight (Tuesday) in a TIC game while the Eagles will be at home Friday against Albemarle School.