Hill guides Rams to finals

Published 11:32 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AHOSKIE – Six years ago he was the first male Most Valuable Player in the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament.

Friday night, Chris Hill will have the opportunity to register another first for the tournament – to win the event as both player and coach.

Hill, who was named Head Coach at Ridgecroft School during the off-season, has directed his team to a pair of wins at the basketball tournament which is sponsored jointly by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and United Country Joe Murray Realty.

Ridgecroft defeated Pungo Christian Academy in the play-in game Monday before bouncing Northeast Academy 51-44 in the semifinals Tuesday night. That sets up a showdown with arch rival Lawrence Academy in Friday’s finals.

In Tuesday’s contest, Hill got 18 points each from Austin Foster and Julien Becker to lead his club. Northeast countered with a trio in double figures led by 13 from Ryan Williams. Will Glover and Brad Johnson had 10 each.

The Eagles started well as they scored the game’s first five points thanks to a hoop from Glover and a triple by Williams.

Ridgecroft answered with a Becker hoop, but Northeast scored six of the next eight points to take an 11-4 edge. Williams scored four of those six while Avery Hargrave added the other hoop.

Becker then hit back-to-back hoops for the Rams to close the gap to three before Logan Simonovich scored to push the advantage back to five.

Foster then registered a triple and a free throw as he helped close his team to within one (13-12) by the end of the first period.

Northeast didn’t go quietly though as Williams scored five of the next seven points answered only by a Foster hoop as the Eagles went ahead 18-14.

Max Boone then scored from behind the arc and Foster registered a field goal as Ridgecroft took a 19-18 lead.

Michael Byrum then scored a triple for Ridgecroft followed by Becker hitting a deuce and a three-pointer to give Ridgecroft a 27-18 lead with 2:50 to play in the first half.

Glover stopped the spurt with a field goal that closed the gap to seven, but Becker again hit from behind the arc and added a bucket that sent the Rams into the locker room up by an even dozen (32-20).

Northeast came out strong in the third quarter when Hargrave and Johnson each hit two from the free throw line and Glover scored from the floor. All that was answered by a single Foster hoop as Northeast got within 34-26.

Foster scored again to stop the run and put the Rams up by 10, but Northeast stormed back. Johnson had successive baskets followed by a Williams hoop as the Eagles closed within 36-32.

Becker hit two free throws for the Rams, but Simonovich countered with a three-pointer to close Northeast to within 38-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth period started with a Byrum bucket and a three-pointer by Boone as the Rams pulled ahead 43-35 with just 4:45 to play. Northeast came back with a free throw by Johnson and a Williams triple as they closed within four (43-39).

Ridgecroft was able to seal the game at the free throw line over the closing minutes and secure the seven-point win.

In addition to those in double figures, the Rams got seven each from Byrum and Boone and one from Jordan Harrell. The Eagles got six from Hargrave and five from Simonovich.

Northeast will meet Bethel Christian Academy in Thursday’s Consolation Game while Ridgecroft will return to the championship game for a chance to win a title that has eluded them since their coach was the tournament’s MVP.