Rams polish off perfect league season

Published 9:52 am Monday, February 13, 2023

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LASKER – They finished what they started.

Ridgecroft School’s varsity boys put the final touches on an undefeated league season here Friday night where the Rams placed all five starters in double figures to defeat Lawrence Academy, 79-65, in the championship game of the Tarheel Independent Conference Tournament.

With the win, the Rams were unbeaten in the TIC regular season (10-0) and tournament (2-0) en route to finishing 21-1 overall entering the NCISAA State playoffs that open this week.

However, the fourth win over Lawrence this season (to include two during the TIC regular season and one at the annual Doug Cobbs Scholarship Tournament back in early December) didn’t come without a few anxious moments.

Despite holding what appeared to be a comfortable 21-point lead (70-49) at the end of the third quarter, Ridgecroft had to hold off a furious Lawrence rally over the final eight minutes to seal the win.

Fueled by a pair of treys from Mike Lee plus two baskets and a free throw by Mari Larry, the Warriors opened the fourth period on an 11-3 run to trim their deficit to 73-60.

Ridgecroft’s steady point guard Justin Peterson, who was later chosen as the tournament MVP, drove the lane and scored to seemingly silence the Warriors threat, but Lawrence answered with a trifecta from Conner Ferebee and a deuce by Luke Foster to get their team to within 10 (75-65) with 2:11 left in the game.

But the Rams wouldn’t allow another point, coming up with critical defensive stops down the stretch coupled with game-sealing baskets from Bill Vaughan and Baron Chamblee.

“We had a hard time fighting through the screens and getting a hand in the faces of their shooters there in the fourth quarter,” said Ridgecroft skipper Kris Khan who later shared the conference Coach of the Year honors with Logan Van Staalduinen of Pungo Christian Academy. “But we were able to work the boards and come up with a few key rebounds off their misses.”

Ridgecroft, who has gotten off to fast starts in the majority of their games this season, raced out to a 23-7 lead after the opening period of play. That effort was highlighted by Baylor Edwards who buried a pair of long-range treys and added one other basket. Vaughan muscled down in the low block to score a pair of baskets while Emmanuel Savage cued up a three-ball from deep in the left corner.

The second period turned into a foul-fest for the Rams. Vaughan and Savage were each whistled for the third fouls during the period and took a seat on the bench. Lawrence used their absence to battle back, closing to within 31-20 when Foster finished off an old-fashioned three-point play at the 4:08 mark of the period.

But as they had shown for the entire season, Ridgecroft spreads the wealth offensively, making it tough on a defense to figure out whom to stop.

A three-pointer each from Edwards and Sawyer Chamblee on consecutive possessions got the Rams rolling. Even a long-range bomb from Larry failed to slow Ridgecroft’s offensive surge as Edwards answered by banking in a trey followed by S. Chamblee finding the bottom of the net on his three-pointer from the deep corner. Nacir Lewis came off the bench to score and Edwards added one more deuce to his total as Ridgecroft led 49-31 at halftime.

Despite seeing Vaughan head to the bench with his fourth foul less than one minute into the third quarter, his teammates continued to build their lead. S. Chamblee’s three-point play at the 5:14 mark of the period staked the Rams to their largest lead of the night, 21 points at 58-37.

Lawrence did rally with five unanswered points, but Savage found his range, scoring 10 points – to include a pair of treys – over the final 3:30 of the quarter as the Rams maintained that 21-point advantage at 70-49.

“We were able to maintain our momentum despite our foul trouble,” said Khan. “Sawyer had a couple of big baskets earlier in the third quarter and then Emmanuel heated up. That’s what makes us so tough to defend as we are very fortunate to have a lot of offensive weapons and the guys run our offense well to find the open look.”

Lawrence finishes at 19-9 overall and should lock up a spot in the state playoffs.


Ridgecroft School

Sawyer Chamblee – 23, Baylor Edwards – 16, Emmanuel Savage – 15, Justin Peterson – 10, Bill Vaughan – 10, Baron Chamblee – 2, Nacir Lewis – 2, Jay Gaston – 1.


Lawrence Academy

Mari Larry – 25, Luke Foster – 17, Mike Lee – 10, Conner Ferebee- 9, Charlie Spruill – 4

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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