Ridgecroft edges Northeast

Published 1:20 pm Monday, February 20, 2012

AHOSKIE – Ridgecroft School earned an appearance in the finals of the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament here Friday.

The Rams knocked off rival Northeast Academy 53-46 in the semifinal of the event to earn the championship appearance.

“I am excited for the team,” first-year Rams’ skipper Chris Hill said after the game. “We held the lead the whole game. They cut the lead to three points and we were able to make a run for a 12-point lead.”

Michael Byrum led the way for the Rams with 21 points while Julian Becker added an even dozen and Austin Foster chipped in 10. Will Glover paced Northeast with 17 points.

The first quarter was low-scoring, but was all Ridgecroft.

Cas Castello started the contest with a bucket that was followed by a three-pointer and a deuce from Austin Foster as the Rams took a 7-0 lead.

Brad Johnson stopped the spurt with a field goal for Northeast, but Julian Becker responded with a free throw and then Byrum scored from behind the arc to give the Rams an 11-2 lead after one quarter.

Glover started the second period with a three-point play and then, after a Jordan Harrell basket for the Rams, Avery Hargrave scored to get Northeast within 13-7.

Byrum answered with a three-pointer, but Hargrave and Logan Simonowich responded with back-to-back hoops and the lead was down to 16-11.

Byrum then took things in his own hands, scoring five unanswered to give Ridgecroft a double-digit lead at 21-11. It stayed at 10 points at half time (25-15).

Northeast put together a 7-3 run midway through the third quarter and closed the gap to 33-28.

Following a Byrum hoop for the Rams, Ryan Williams hit a three-pointer and closed the gap to 35-31.

Ridgecroft, however, scored the final five points of the third quarter – four of which came from Byrum – and led 40-31 heading into the final quarter of play.

The fourth period started well for the Eagles with Glover and Johnson hitting back-to-back shots before Simonowich scored twice from the free throw line to get Northeast within 40-37.

Ridgecroft roared back, however, when Foster scored from the floor and then Byrum completed a three-point play.

Williams scored from the free throw line for Northeast, but Max Boone hit from behind the arc and Jordan Harrell scored to give Ridgecroft a 50-38 lead. The Rams never looked back and went on to the victory.

In addition to those in double figures, the Rams got five from Harrell, three from Boone and two from Castello. Simonowich and Hargrave had eight each for the Eagles while Johnson had seven and Williams six.