Lady Rams win ‘wild’ TIC

Published 1:25 pm Monday, February 21, 2011

TERRA CEIA – It’s a two-word phrase.

And it’s one that has made all the difference this year for the Ridgecroft School Lady Rams.

That simple mantra is “We wild.”

Before breaking the huddle, it’s the two-word phrase the Lady Rams have used all season and Saturday, the Ridgecroft varsity girls ran “wild” in the Tarheel Independent Conference Tournament, bagging the conference tournament crown to add to their regular season championship.

Ridgecroft defeated co-champion Hobgood Academy 64-56 in an overtime thriller Saturday to earn the league’s automatic bid into the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association state tournament and earn win number 13 in a row.

“It was a very exciting culmination of a great season,” Ridgecroft Head Coach Susan Oliver said. “This team has worked so hard all year and it meant a lot for me to see them reach their goal.”

The goal of winning the TIC title was seconds away from slipping through their fingers, however.

With 5.2 seconds remaining, Hobgood stood at the free throw line in a tie game.

“I called a timeout and it was obvious that the determination was still in their eyes,” Oliver said. “They had an opponent standing at the free throw line with 5.2 seconds in a tie game and they never gave up.”

The free throw missed as did two follow-up shots and the Rams and Raiders headed for an overtime session. Once there, Oliver said her team played smart basketball.

“We knew what we had to do,” she said. “Their best offensive player and best defensive player were in foul trouble, so we had to take it to them. We played smart.”

Oliver said the Rams were able to pick up the fifth foul on both players and then moved the ball well to accomplish their goal of winning the tournament championship.

Ridgecroft led the game 18-6 after one quarter and held a 28-25 lead at the intermission. The Lady Rams held a 39-38 advantage heading into the final period and then the game was tied at 52-all after four quarters.

Ridgecroft outscored their opponents 12-4 in the final period.

Hennie Larabee led Ridgecroft with 18 points while Lauren Colson scored 14. Miller Bryant added 13 and Brice Harrison rounded out the double-figure scoring with 12. Sara Hackney added four points, Elizabeth Joyner had two and Nikki Smith had one point.

Schuyler Edmondson led Hobgood with a game-high 31 points.

“It was exciting,” Bryant said after the game. “We all played well together and it was great to win the tournament championship.”

Larabee agreed.

“It felt good to beat Hobgood again,” she said. “I was nervous, but excited going in. I wanted to win the tournament, but it was good to beat Hobgood again too.”

Harrison, a senior, said she enjoyed ending her TIC basketball career with the championship.

“It means a bunch to me,” she said. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think we would go this far because of our lack of size.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year as it turned out,” Harrison continued. “We left everything we had on the floor. We played hard and we played smart.”

After the event, Bryant was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She said the award meant a lot.

“I didn’t think about winning the personal award at all,” Bryant said. “I wanted the team to win and that’s what I’m most thankful for. I do appreciate the honor, but it’s more about the team.”

Larabee and Harrison were also honored when they were named to the All-Tournament Team.

“I tried so hard, especially in the last game,” said Larabee, an eighth-grader on her first varsity basketball squad. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Harrison said the award was special because it was her senior season.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “It does mean a lot to me to be given the award, especially in my last season.”

The victory pushed Ridgecroft to 21-3 overall for the season heading into the NCISAA playoffs.