Eagles earn finals appearance

Published 12:45 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AHOSKIE – The championship game will be a battle of Bertie County.

Bethel Christian Academy downed host Ridgecroft School 80-67 in the semifinals of the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament here Tuesday night. The win means they will face Bertie County foe Lawrence Academy in Friday’s championship game of the event which is sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Shane Tripp led the offensive attack for the Eagles with 30 points while Kyle Freeman chipped in 22. Bobby Edwards was the top scorer for the Rams with 21 points.

The Eagles scored the first seven points of the contest when Freeman hit a triple and then two free throws followed by a Marky Palmer hoop.

Nathan Pearce then stopped the spurt with a free throw for the Rams, but Freeman came back with a hoop and a free throw to make it 10-1 in favor of Bethel.

Ridgecroft then got a hoop from Kinchen Taylor and a three-point play by Ryan Beggs to close back within 10-6.

Bethel then outscored the Rams 10-2 over the next several minutes with Kevin Johnson hitting a pair of hoops and Freeman, David Simmons and Daniel Feher hitting one each. They were answered by only a Rayshawn Anthony bucket for the Rams and led 20-8.

Ridgecroft, however, got a triple and a deuce from Austin Britton before the first quarter ended to get the Rams within 20-13.

The teams exchanged runs in the second quarter with Bethel starting the period on a 7-3 spurt only to be answered by a 7-0 run for the Rams later in the quarter.

The two teams finally went into the locker room with Bethel up 39-36 despite a three-pointer from Edwards just before the second quarter ended.

Britton closed the Rams to within one (39-38) as the second half started and then – after an exchange of hoops, Edwards hit a three-pointer that tied the game at 43-all.

Bethel, however, got back-to-back hoops from Simmons and Tripp to lead 47-43.

A three-pointer by Michael Byrum, however, had the Rams back within one (49-48) before Tripp scored as the third quarter ended to make it 51-48 heading into the final period of play.

It was a key Eagle run with just under six minutes to play that spelled doom for the Rams. Bethel went on a 9-2 spurt that was sparked by four from Tripp and two each from Palmer and Freeman as they took a 62-52 lead with four minutes to play.

Ridgecroft got as close as three (64-61) on a Britton hoop, but never got closer as Bethel sealed the victory at the free throw line, hitting seven from the charity stripe in the final two minutes to win 80-67.

Ridgecroft will be in action tonight (Thursday) when the meet Northeast Academy in the consolation game of the tourney. That contest will be played at Lawrence Academy.

(By Billy Harrell, Senior Sports Writer)