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Ridley using holiday tourney as tuneup for Central League play

RIDLEY TWP. — Ridley coach Kevin Kelly and his players know that things will get very interesting when the Central League boys basketball race resumes next week.

“The league is up for grabs,” Green Raiders senior Josh Howard said Friday afternoon after scoring 16 points to help the host team to a 61-15 victory over Interboro in the opening round of the Ridley Holiday Basketball Tournament.

Ridley (5-2) will take on Martin Luther King of Philadelphia in the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday. MLK (7-1) defeated its Public League rival South Philadelphia High, 54-41, in the other game Friday.

“We knew we still have things to work on to get better,” said Kelly, whose opening-minutes advantage over four quarters was 27-2 Friday. “Today we wanted them to play smart, take good shots, and keep focused.”

Howard and Josh Hagan both dropped in five points in the opening period as Ridley built a 12-4 lead. In the second quarter, the Green Raiders outscored the Bucs, 17-2, taking advantage of 11 turnovers. Jack Grace, the quarterback of the football team which bowed to Interboro Thanksgiving Day, got all six of his points in the second stanza.

Howard had the hot hand in the third period, hitting a field goal before making three 3-point shots in a row.

“The coaches like us to make at least four passes before we look to shoot in games like this,” said Howard, who hopes to attend Neumann University and major in cyber security.

Hagan, who scored 10 points, was the other Ridley double-figure scorer. He also grabbed five rebounds and made three steals.

Cameron Farro, who was scoreless in the opening half, finished with four points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal for Ridley.

“We knew we had to work on facing their zone defenses,” said Farro, who is headed to Widener, where he may play baseball. “Our coaches want to make sure we get good guard play. Today it was all about making sure we executed our offense rather than just the first man down shooting the ball.”

Interboro did not have player with more than one field goal and got only six points from its starting five.

Ridley’s first two opponents when they resume Central League play will be Lower Merion and Penncrest.

“We understand that it has to be about us continuing to get better,” Kelly said.

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