Ridgecroft upsets Lawrence

Published 1:27 pm Monday, February 21, 2011

TERRA CEIA – The third time was the charm.

Ridgecroft School’s varsity boy’s won the Tarheel Independent Conference Tournament here Saturday with a 62-58 victory over TIC regular-season champion Lawrence Academy.

“Lawrence beat us twice earlier this year, both times by 20 points,” Ridgecroft Head Coach Brandon Hodges said. “Beating them in the championship game speaks volumes of how this team has gelled over the past few weeks.

“I could see them starting to gel over that time and it was great to see it come to fruition in the tournament championship game,” he continued. “It was a great way for our seniors to go out.”

While the game ended with a Ridgecroft victory, it started with Lawrence taking an early lead. The Warriors held an 18-15 advantage after one quarter and led 31-24 at the intermission.

Hodges said, however, that it was important for the Rams to have been within six at the intermission.

“Staying in the game in the first half was important to us,” he stressed. “We were down six at the half and in the second half, we played with great intensity. The guys played really good defense.”

The Warriors still led heading into the final quarter, however, holding a 43-38 edge heading into the fourth period.

In the final quarter, however, the Ridgecroft offense exploded for 24 points, 12 of which came from senior Austin Britton.

“Austin Britton was a work horse in the paint,” Hodges said. “He got his shot blocked several times, but he kept going back. He was a difference maker.

“In the fourth quarter, all five players on the floor scores and that was a huge lift for us,” he added.

While the Ridgecroft offense was pouring in 25 points, they held the Warriors to 15 and that made the difference.

“I think we played better defense this time,” Ridgecroft freshman Landon Larabee said. “Our shots were falling and theirs didn’t in the fourth quarter.”

In the end, the Rams became the only team in the Tarheel Independent Conference to beat the Warriors all season.

“It was probably one of the happiest moments of my senior year,” Britton said. “Our basketball season has been up and down all year and to come in as the underdog and win the tournament championship was the perfect way to go out.”

Larabee said he was pleased to have been part of his first TIC varsity tournament championship.

“I’m very happy and very appreciative to have been part of it,” he said. “The team worked hard and we all worked together.”

Hodges was also thrilled with his team’s effort.

“It was a team victory, that’s for sure,” he said. “I can’t say enough about how well everyone did their part.”

At the end of the tournament, Britton was named Most Valuable Player while Larabee was selected to the All-Tournament Team.

“Yes, I was given the MVP award, but that wouldn’t have happened without the four other players on the floor,” Britton said. “It is a great honor, but I couldn’t have done it by myself.

“Everyone on our team contributed when they needed to,” he added. “Everyone has a role and we all did what we were supposed to.”

Britton paced the win for Ridgecroft with 25 points while Larabee chipped in 11 and Ryan Beggs rounded out the double figure scoring with 10 points.

Nathan Pearce added four, Max Boone had four and Jordan Harrell had two for the Rams.

Lawrence was led by Travis Whitehead’s 17 points while Cade Larabee contributed 13, Willie Bass had 11 and Trace Larabee had 10. Chase Stevens checked in with seven points.

Following the tournament, Willie Bass and Trace Larabee were named to the All-Tournament Team from Lawrence.