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Ridgecroft rolls by Albemarle in semis

HOBGOOD – Sixth-seeded Albemarle School’s dream of an upset trip to the finals ended here Friday as the Lady Colts fell to second-seeded Ridgecroft School, 41-16.

The Lady Rams moved on to the Saturday evening final against top-seed, and host school, Hobgood Academy.

Emily Cooke led Ridgecroft with 16 points while Miller Bryant added 15. Brice Harrison had 5, 4 for Sara Hackney, and one for Lauren Colson.

Shelby Erps led Albemarle with six points.

“Miller hadn’t been feeling well, but she came out and played her heart out,” said coach Susan Oliver, “and she left everything out there on the floor.”

“Emily was the same thing,” she added, “they knew what they had to do and they took care of it.”

After Cooke scored the first three points for Ridgecroft with a lay-up and later a free throw, Albemarle got on the board with a jump shot from Joanna Arrington.

Cooke went on to score all six of Ridgecroft’s points in the first quarter, but a late jump shot from Erps left the scored tied after the first eight minutes, 6-6.

Albemarle got another jump shot from Erps to open the second quarter scoring, but it would be their last lead of the game.

Albemarle led, 8-7, one minute into the second when their sharpshooter, Laurie Cartwright, went down with an ankle injury under the Ridgecroft basket. She was helped from the floor and did not return to the game.

“We were ahead there when she went out,” said Lady Colts coach Pete Smithson, “but after that the aggressiveness, the attitude, everything just changed for us.”

Ridgecroft seized the momentum, scoring the next ten in a row. Hackney got a lay-up in the lane, then Bryant scored five in a row on a three-pointer and a short jump shot. The Lady Rams closed out the half making three of four free throws and led, 17-8, at the break.

Albemarle opened the second half with a jump shot to get within seven, but Ridgecroft outscored the Lady Colts, 10-2, up until the final minute.

Bryant got another three pointer, and then a putback. Hackney had a putback on the next possession and Cooke closed out the scoring run with a scoop shot that went in. Shannon Staples scored the final two points of the quarter for Albemarle.

The Lady Rams showed off their defense as well as offense in the final frame, reeling off a dozen in a row. Cooke got a couple of layups, one coming on a steal, and a jump shot from the corner.

Bryant then closed out her 10-point second half with a trey and a long jumper. In between, Harrison made a pair of free throws.

Albemarle avoided the shutout with a Kari Roach jump shot, but the outcome was well determined by then as Ridgecroft took the 25-point win.

“We worked hard on our man-to-man defense,” said Oliver, and you can see it paid off.”