Rams snap Northeast win streak

Published 1:06 pm Monday, January 10, 2011

AHOSKIE – Just your typical rivalry game.

Ridgecroft School and Northeast Academy battled hard and physical all night, but in the end it was the Rams who ended the Eagles’ two-game win streak and posted a 30-point, 59-29, Ridgecroft win on Friday night.

Austin Britton, with 11 points in the first half, paced the Rams, finishing the night with 15.  Fellow front-liner, Nathan Pearce, just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds while Michael Byrum rounded out the double-figure scoring with 11.

Northeast, playing without leading scorer Will Glover, who sat out the game with illness, got seven points each from James Pope, Clay Robbins and Ashley Hargrove.

Ridgecroft climbs above the .500 mark in the Tarheel Independent Conference at 2-1 and 3-5 overall. Northeast suffered its first league loss to even their conference mark at 1-1 and 5-6 through 11 games.

In addition to their offensive output, Ridgecroft’s defense was so smothering in the second half that they held the Eagles to just 10 points, including Northeast going scoreless for the entire third quarter.

“Defense stepped it up big tonight,” said Rams coach Brandon Hodges. “All eleven guys contributed and it started from the first tip. They were scrambling, they were all over the floor, and they played a really good game on the defensive end.”

The offensive start wasn’t as smooth as Northeast took its only lead of the night, 5-4, before the Rams roared back with a 9-0 run, four different players scoring, forcing NEA Head Coach Tim Boone to call a time out to quell the storm.

Northeast responded to the tongue-lashing as jump shots from Pope and Hargrove had the Eagles back within four after the first quarter, 17-13.

The Eagles comeback continued into the second frame as they knotted the score two minutes into the quarter, 17-17.

But after Hodges called a time out to regroup his team, they went on an 11-2 run and went into the break up, 28-19, at halftime.

Northeast must’ve left their offense back in the locker room because they just could not score in the third quarter. Jump shots were either short, off the mark or just plain air balls. And the same almost applied for layups.

Ridgecroft, meanwhile, only scored 11, five thanks to the outside shooting of Byrum and a sky-hook from Pearce, who looped it in over two defenders. The lead was boosted to 20, 39-19.

Pearce came back to lead a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter, adding a layup and another hook shot that increased the Rams lead to 30, 49-19.

Northeast finally broke their scoreless drought with four minutes remaining as Harrell swished a three-pointer. They added three more before the final buzzer to lose it by 25.

“I told the kids that some nights you don’t shoot well,” said Boone after the game, “but we just didn’t give the effort they did.

“Sure we didn’t shoot well,” he added, “but we still could play hard and we didn’t even do that.”

“When we execute our plays, we’re hard to stop,” said Hodges with a smile. “And the way we executed tonight was a beautiful thing.”