Sweet music…again!

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ASKEWVILLE – In the first of what could be as many as six meetings this high school basketball season, Ridgecroft School fired the first salvo, and won the initial meeting with rival Northeast Academy 44-23. The Lady Rams did it in capturing another Eric Baggett Memorial Tournament championship – their fifth in a row.

After an opening night semi-final win in which they put up 60 points, the Lady Eagles struggled to score more than 20. Meanwhile, the Lady Rams spread their scoring among the veterans as everybody stepped up.

“We played well and we played as a team,” said Ridgecroft coach Susan Oliver. “Our defense helped create turnovers, and we moved the ball well.”

Ridgecroft School’s Reagan King (in blue) battles Northeast Academy’s Carly Stephenson for a loose ball in the girls championship game of the Eric Baggett Memorial Basketball Tournament in Askewville this past weekend. The Lady Rams won their fifth straight Baggett title. | William Anthony Photography

Northeast scored the first four points of the game, and it looked as if they might remain in form from their Friday opener. But after the Rams’ Reagan King got a put back and Olivia Wheeler knocked down a jump shot for Northeast, the rest of the quarter belonged to Ridgecroft.

Oliver’s girls turned up the defensive pressure and the Eagles just couldn’t hold onto the ball. Ridgecroft scored 11 in a row, unanswered, with Sydney Lane – who was named girls Tournament MVP – getting the last six points on her own. A stunned Northeast found themselves trailing after the first quarter 13-6.

‘Unlike last year when we had Ruthie (Daniels) to bail us out and takeover, it’s now up to everybody instead of one player,” added Oliver with a smile. “We’re just now figuring out our groove.”

That groove was working all throughout the second quarter for the Rams. Lane opened the quarter with a three-pointer and her teammates never looked back. Running and romping the Rams reeled off a dozen in a row as Northeast seemed stunned as much as their fans, now sitting quietly in the stands.

Olivia Wheeler kept the Eagles from getting shutout in the quarter with a jump shot that rolled the rim before finally dropping in for two points. Ridgecroft raced to the locker room holding a 25-8 halftime lead.

The overflow crowd kept waiting for the Eagles to mount their comeback, but it never came. They tried attacking the basket and made three-of-four foul shots, but they needed much more to get back into the game. The Rams scored eight of the quarter’s final ten points and that translated into a 20-point lead heading into the fourth, 35-15.

Just as they only managed seven points in the third quarter, the Eagles posted one more point in the fourth; never scoring back-to-back field goals the entire second half. In fact, no back-to-backs from the floor since their opening four points of the game. Though they were small in number, every Ridgecroft player had a chance to play and contribute. While the low score would indicate a half-court game, it was instead a game of transition as the Rams turned turnovers into lay-ups.

“It’s harder to stop five than one,” said Oliver. “I tell them if they keep working hard good things will happen. We’re working hard in practice, but we’ve also got to keep it up.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said a disappointed Northeast coach Joella Brown. “We had a good effort, and I know we have a lot of potential; but we have to learn how to follow through. We’ll get better.”

Ridgecroft is off until they host the Nick Brantley Memorial Tournament at their gym beginning Nov. 30. Their first Tarheel Independent Conference game is Dec. 5 at Lawrence Academy after the Brantley. Northeast stepped right into TIC action, hosting Hobgood Academy on Tuesday in a game not completed by press-time. Next Tuesday (Nov. 28), the Eagles will host Cornerstone Christian of Weldon at their gym in Lasker.


Olivia Wheeler-9, Carly Stephenson-8, Addie Piper-2, Carson Johnson-2, Haven Jilcott-2.


Sydney Lane-18, Reagan King-10, Brooke Rose-7, Emma Wood Boone-4, Skylar Brown-4, Olivia Daly-1.


Bethel Assembly won the junior varsity girls championship with a 27-23 score over Ahoskie Christian. Sarah Conner led the way in a low-scoring affair with six points, five rebounds, and two steals. Gracie Simmons and Sheree Harrell contributed five points each in the Little Lady Eagles win. Cameron Wallace of ACS led all scorers with 12 points while her sister, Calynn Wallace scored five.

It was those same two teams vying for third place in the varsity girls bracket, and Bethel bested Ahoskie Christian in that game as well, 43-36.

Kayley Minton led three Bethel Assembly players in double-figures with 17 points along with two rebounds and six steals. Lindsey Todd added 11 points while Sarah Conner had 10 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Lauren Farless added 13 rebounds.

Madison Blowe had 11 points as high scorer for Ahoskie Christian, while Cameron Wallace’s 10 points was the only other scorer in double figures. Haley Knox added six points for the Lady Warriors.