Rams outlast Bethel

Published 1:37 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

ASKEWVILLE – It came down to the final shot.

As has become normal in the non-conference rivalry between Ridgecroft School and Bethel Christian Academy, nothing was decided until the waning seconds of their contest Tuesday.

The Rams used a last-second shot to secure a 58-56 victory over the Eagles, but the game was still in doubt until the horn sounded just before Bethel got off a shot that would have won the contest had it gone in.

Ridgecroft had a balanced scoring attack in improving to 4-0 for the young season while keeping first-year skipper Chris Hill undefeated in his career. Jordan Harrell led the Rams with 16 points while Michael Byrum added 15, Austin Foster had 14 and Julian Becker chipped in 13.

On the other side, Shane Tripp led the Eagles with 22 while Kyle Freeman had 15 points, including the five that tied the game over the final minute of play. Daniel Feher added nine for the Eagles.

Ridgecroft appeared to have the game in control after wrestling the lead away from the home team on a Byrum field goal that put them up 52-51. Foster then scored four unanswered to give his team a 56-51 lead with less than two minutes to play.

Bethel wasn’t done, however, as Freeman buried a three-pointer with 38 seconds left in the game and then tied the contest on a field goal with 20 ticks left on the clock.

After forcing a turnover, Bethel got the ball out of bounds under the Ridgecroft basket, but the Rams’ pressure forced the Eagles to attempt to go long and the ball bounced off the rafters.

Hill called a timeout to set up a play with the Rams taking it in under their own goal and it worked to perfection as Byrum hit a five-footer with just 1.5 seconds left.

Bethel called a timeout, but couldn’t get off a shot before time expired sending the Rams to their first road victory of the season while dropping Bethel to 2-3 on the young season.

The contest was a good one throughout with neither team ever being able to gain a double-digit advantage. The biggest lead was seven points with the Eagles holding that advantage twice in the second quarter.

In the first period, the teams exchanged buckets with the game tied five times before a Tripp field goal gave Bethel a 13-11 lead after one quarter.

The Eagles added to the advantage in the second period when David Simmons and Feher each scored to push the lead to 16-11 before Foster answered for Ridgecroft.

Following an exchange of hoops, Bethel went on a 6-2 spurt to push out to a 24-17 lead. Feher, Freeman and Kevin Johnson had scores for the Eagles.

Ridgecroft came back thanks to a three-pointer from Becker and a hoop by Byrum, but Johnson scored as the first half came to an end to send the Eagles into the locker room with a 28-24 edge.

Harrell started the third quarter with a three-point play, but Freeman and Tripp had free throws to negate the score.

Harrell then sandwiched a pair of hoops around a Byrum score as Ridgecroft surged ahead 33-31.

Simmons responded for Bethel and then the teams exchanged shots over the next several minutes with Joseph Ginn hitting a hoop as time expired in the third quarter to give the home team a 43-42 advantage.

The Rams came out on fire in the fourth quarter with Becker hitting both ends of a 1-plus-1 and then adding a shot to give the Rams a 46-45 edge.

The teams took turns leading throughout the remainder of the contest with Becker and Tripp exchanging shots before Freeman and Harrell did the same setting up the 52-51 Ridgecroft lead.

Ridgecroft will be back in action tonight (Tuesday) when they host Faith Christian School. Junior varsity games begin at 4 p.m.

Bethel will be back on the court Thursday when they travel to Pungo Christian Academy.