Lady Rams ‘steal’ win vs. Lawrence
Published 2:49 pm Saturday, January 6, 2024
AHOSKIE – Coming off a 21-day layoff due to the holidays, Ridgecroft varsity girls coach Billy Jenkins feared the worse from his unbeaten Lady Rams when they hosted rival Lawrence Academy here Friday night.
It seems that the coach’s intuitions proved him right as well as wrong.
Coming up with key steals late in the fourth quarter, freshman guard Hannah Slaughter scored 10 points in the game’s waning moments as Ridgecroft overcame a less than sparkling performance to rally past the Lady Warriors, 46-42.
“We didn’t play very well for three and one-half quarters, but I was pleased with the effort we showed over the final few minutes, especially on the defensive end,” said Jenkins whose club improved to 10-0 overall and 1-0 in the Tarheel Independent Conference.
“We were on a roll leading into the Christmas/New Year’s break,” Jenkins added. “We had beaten a very good Rocky Mount Academy team (53-44) on the road on Dec. 14, but then came the long layoff and that staleness showed in the first three quarters tonight against a tough Lawrence team.”
Trailing by five (40-35) with less than three minutes remaining, Jenkins opted to turn up the defensive pressure and that move paid immediate dividends.
After Kate Chamblee scrambled to tie up Lawrence’s Trinity Congleton for a loose ball (with the possession arrow favoring the Lady Rams), Slaughter was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and went to the line to sink a pair of free throws, trimming the deficit to 40-37 with 2:48 left.
Ten seconds later, Slaughter came up with a steal and her layup made it a one point game at 40-39, bringing the loud Ridgecroft crowd to its feet.
Lawrence’s Ellie Farmer silenced the noise for a moment as she drained a shot from the field for a 42-39 Lady Warriors lead with 1:41 remaining. However, that basket served as the final points for the visitors.
Slaughter answered with six straight points – a basket, then two free throws when she was fouled after a steal, and another pair of charity tosses on a Lawrence foul committed after Ridgecroft’s Molly Brown came up with a clutch steal.
Makenzie Slaughter hit one of two free throws to seal the win with 13 seconds left.
Other than an offensive rally late in the first quarter, Ridgecroft trailed for the majority of the game.
Congleton was a physical force for Lawrence in the early stages as she scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter, helping the Lady Warriors build a 13-8 lead.
The Slaughter girls rallied the Lady Rams, first with a three-pointer by Hannah and then two free throws and a basket from Makenzie that afforded Ridgecroft a 15-13 lead at the end of the opening period.
After Lawrence’s Addie Phelps and M. Slaughter traded off three-pointers over the opening 32 seconds of the second quarter, the Lady Warriors closed out the period on an 8-2 run and a 24-20 halftime lead.
Chamblee tied the game at 24-24 with back-to-back baskets to open the third quarter, but she picked up her third foul at the 6:33 mark and went to the bench.
Sparked by a pair of Jaslene Ethridge baskets and an old-fashioned three-point play from Claire Smith, Lawrence went on a 9-1 run to open up their largest lead of the game, 33-25, at the 4:34 mark of the period.
Lawrence led 36-31 at the end of the third quarter.
Lady Rams (46)
Hannah Slaughter – 15, Makenzie Slaughter – 15, Kate Chamblee – 10, Klaire Cherry – 4, Camryn Taylor – 2.
Lady Warriors (42)
Trinity Congleton – 12, Claire Smith – 8, Jaslene Ethridge – 7, Ellie Farmer – 6, Addie Phelps – 5, Samantha Hughson – 4.