Rams rally late to win Doug Cobbs championship

Published 8:00 am Monday, December 5, 2022

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AHOSKIE – When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

That old adage came to the forefront here Friday night in the varsity boys championship game of the Doug Cobbs Scholarship Basketball Tournament where consecutive steals by senior Justin Peterson led to layups and junior sharpshooter Sawyer Chamblee buried a pair of clutch three-pointers, all coming during a critical stretch of the fourth quarter, that allowed Ridgecroft School to rally past Lawrence Academy, 52-46.

After leading by as many as 14 points late in the first quarter, Ridgecroft weathered a big comeback by the Warriors.

Trailing 35-31 entering the final period, Lawrence used a three-point basket each from Luke Foster and Mike Lee on consecutive possessions to forge a 37-37 tie at the 6:44 mark. Twenty-two seconds later, Mari Larry gave the Warriors their first lead of the game (40-37) when he was fouled on a missed three-point attempt and calmly sank all three free throws.

A little over one minute later, Larry was fouled again and swished two more free throws, staking Lawrence to a 42-37 lead.

But the Rams relied on their experience, having four starters back from last year’s team that won the championship game of the inaugural Cobbs tournament.

Junior big man Bill Vaughan ignited the rally with a basket down on the low block. Twenty-eight seconds later, Peterson leaped to steal a pass and scored on a layup, trimming the Rams deficit to a single point (42-41) with 4:14 remaining. The senior guard repeated that defensive effort on Lawrence’s next possession. This time he tossed his stolen pass to junior teammate Baylor Edwards whose layup allowed the Rams to reclaim the lead at 43-42 with 3:55 left.

Larry answered for Lawrence, sinking a basket for a 44-43 lead by the visitors.

It was at that point where Chamblee took over. His three-pointer from the right wing found its mark with a shade over two minutes left. After Lawrence big man Charlie Spruill tied the game at 46-46 with his basket with 1:49 left, Chamblee struck again, this time from deep in the right corner where his three-pointer with 1:25 remaining staked the Rams to a lead (49-46) they would not surrender.

Chamblee, who was named as the Tournament MVP, also began the game on a high note, scoring five of his team’s first 10 points. Edwards then heated up, first by draining a three-pointer and then adding a pair of free throws as the Rams held a 17-5 lead with just over two minutes left in the opening period.

Back-to-back baskets by Emmanuel Savage and Nacir Lewis allowed Ridgecroft to build their largest lead, 22-8, late in the first quarter.

The Rams had a chance to build on that lead, but struggled at the free throw line in the second period where they missed all nine opportunities. That opened the door for Lawrence to mount a comeback as Conner Ferebee and Lee each drained a three-point basket while Tucker Baldwin, Spruill, and Foster each added a deuce that allowed the Warriors to get to within seven points (28-21) at halftime.

A deuce and a trey from Foster plus three free throws by Colby Hauser led the way for the Warriors in the third quarter where they drew to within 35-31 entering the final, action packed final period of play.

Ridgecroft (52)

Sawyer Chamblee – 19, Justin Peterson – 11, Baylor Edwards – 8, Jay Gaston – 7, Nacir Lewis – 4, Bill Vaughan – 4, Emmanuel Savage – 3

Lawrence (46)

Mari Larry – 13, Luke Foster – 10, Mike Lee – 6, Charlie Spruill – 6, Conner Ferebee – 5, Colby Hauser – 3, Tucker Baldwin – 2


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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