Rams power way to Brantley title games

Published 9:00 am Thursday, December 5, 2013

AHOSKIE – No Rams hiding in the bushes here because they’re out front and pulling away.

Ridgecroft’s girls and boys varsity basketball teams powered their way to semi-final wins here Tuesday night as both earned spots for Friday’s Championship Night at the annual Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament.

The Rams had to overcome Tarheel Independent Conference rival, NortheastAcademy, in non-league games for both teams. The girls remained unbeaten on the season with a 50-23 win, while the boys charged from behind in the second half to advance, 41-35.

Hennie Larabee finished three rebounds shy of a triple double as she tallied 10 points, 11 steals, and collected seven caroms. Teammate Tanja Sauermann led all scorers with 12.  Chelsea Rose had nine points for Northeast to go along with seven rebounds.

The Ridgecroft boys overcame a ten-point deficit to roar back and post their victory.  Landon Larabee led all scorers with 16 points, all but two in the second half, as the only Ram to score in double-figures. Nathan Rowe topped the score list for Northeast with a dozen while teammate Cody Hurdle dropped in 10, all in the first half.

Cold shooting plagued Northeast in the girls game, and credit a lot of that to the swarming Ridgecroft defense. Nine first half turnovers became 22 points as the Lady Rams led by ten, 14-4, after the first quarter. Madison Burch was the only Lady Eagle to score in the second quarter with a three-point shot and that helped account for Ridgecroft being up 33-7 at halftime.

Coach Susan Oliver’s switching defenses from zone to man-to-man helped take away the effectiveness of Northeast center Robyn Barnes, who finished with just 4 points on what had to be a frustrating night. Ahead by more than 30 after three quarters Oliver cleared her bench in the fourth frame with all but one player scoring on the night.

The Lady Rams will now face the winner out of the Lawrence Academy bracket in Friday night’s championship.

In the boys contest, Eagles pivot man Cody Hurdle just exerted his will over the smaller Rams, allowing NEA and it’s inside game to dominate 13-7 after one quarter as Rowe hit a three-point shot at the buzzer.

Larabee wasn’t allowed to penetrate in the first half and the Rams had no one to attack the basket, helping Northeast to claim an 18-12 lead at the break.

The second half was a different story as Larabee found the lanes and took advantage. A 6-0 run to open the third quarter tied the game at 18-18 less than two minutes into the frame. Rowe broke the tie with a three-pointer, but the Rams answered on a Brandon Steiner field goal followed by a Larabee steal and lay-up and Ridgecroft never trailed again. They were up four, 27-23, after three quarters of play.

The Rams had a six-point lead before three-point bombs from Rowe and Trey Futrell tied it at 32-all with a little over two minutes to go. Instead, Ridgecroft cashed in by making six straight foul shots; four of them coming when the Eagles were whistled for a technical foul on another foul play. The Rams added two more, allowed Northeast a three-point shot before shutting down the game at the free throw line

Ridgecroft now meets the finalist in the Lawrence bracket Friday for the 2013 Nick Brantley title.