Raiders win TIC girl’s tourney

Published 1:10 pm Monday, February 20, 2012

AHOSKIE – It was a one-versus-two finale, and it played out like one.

At times.

In the end, top-seeded Hobgood Academy claimed the 2012 Tarheel Independent Conference Tournament championship Saturday night, downing second-seed, and tournament host, Ridgecroft School 45-34.

In Saturday’s championship Hobgood blazed out to a 13-point lead that grew to 17 at halftime and then held off a second-half Ridgecroft rally to post the win.

Schuyler Edmondson played like the TIC Player of the Year that she is, led the Hobgood scoring with 19 points – all but two of them coming in the first half.  Teammate Morgan Medford had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Mary-joe Harrell and Miller Bryant paced Ridgecroft with a dozen points each.

It was the Lady Raiders’ third win over the Lady Rams this season and second win in Ahoskie.  In January Hobgood won 50-24.

“It was a great first half,” said Hobgood coach Pam Tutor. “The girls were really pumped up and Schuyler was excited about this being her senior year and really wanting to go out on a high note playing the way she could.

“She really puts in a lot of hard work and I don’t think people realize how much hard work she puts in,” Tutor added. “She’s a good kid.”

With Edmondson scoring on the wing and getting put-backs in the low post, Hobgood blazed out to an early lead with Ridgecroft breaking the string on a Lauren Colson bucket.

Hobgood used their size inside to muscle the Lady Rams around a bit on offense, then on defense boxed in the Ridgecroft outside shooters with a diamond-and-one.

Nowhere was that more evident – and effective – than on Ridgecroft’s best outside shooter, Hennie Larabee, who was held to a season-low four points.

Harrell and Colson got the Rams within nine before Edmondson scored Hobgood’s final four points of the first quarter on a jump shot in the free-throw lane and later a layup in the paint. It put the Raiders up after the first eight minutes, 18-5.

Hobgood opened the second quarter with Edmondson getting six points during an 8-1 Raiders run. They pushed their lead to 28-7 with Ridgecroft’s only points coming on free throws from Larabee and Colson.

But the Rams picked themselves up after that. Bryant got a layup underneath and then took advantage of a Hobgood defensive lapse and nailed a three-pointer.

Because it was such a physical contest with plenty of pushing and shoving and the girls were allowed to play Hobgood racked up fouls, sending Ridgecroft to the free throw line. But the Rams went 2-for-7 at the charity stripe and couldn’t reduce the margin.

In all, Ridgecroft put up eight points to Hobgood’s two in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the quarter with Harrell firing in a short jump shot and Colson a free throw. At halftime Hobgood led it 32-15.

The third quarter was a low-scoring affair as Hobgood only scored 11 points to Ridgecroft’s eight.

The Rams reduced the margin to 10 at one point, 32-22,  before Hobgood was able to extend the lead and went into the final quarter ahead 40-26 after Medford hit a rainbow three-pointer.

Comfortably ahead, Tutor began to clear her bench and let some of the other girls get a chance on the floor, but before that Edmondson drove for a layup and gave Hobgood their largest lead at 45-27. She then exited the game to the cheers and chants of the Raider faithful.

“It was a hard first half,” said Ridgecroft coach Susan Oliver. “We came back for a while there in the second half but it wasn’t quite enough. Hobgood’s a good, strong team.

“Their size hurt us inside, but we fought and left it all on the floor,” she added. “I’m proud of my girls.”