LOWER MERION >> Ridley jumped out to an early lead and led the rest of the way in a 53-47 win against Lower Merion Tuesday.
The victory kept Ridley’s Central League record unbeaten with one game left, against Garnet Valley Thursday. A win there earns Ridley a bye into the Central League final.
“Traditionally, we’ve not gotten off to quick starts in games this season,” Ridley head coach Mike Snyder said. “We’ve (sometimes) fallen behind early and had to catch up, so it was nice to get a early lead and keep it.”
The persistent Aces, who were celebrating Senior Night, kept coming after the first quarter, but the closest they got was at the end of the third stanza, when they only trailed by four at 39-35.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Ridley went on an 8-0 run to take a 47-35 lead. Julian Wing hit a jumper, Ryan Bollinger nailed a three-pointer from the left corner, and Brett Foster hit a jumper to give the visitors some breathing room.
Foster, the Central League MVP last season, led all scorers with 16 points, while Wing and Bollinger chipped in with 12 points apiece.
“Ridley doesn’t beat themselves, and they play with good tempo,” Lower Merion head coach Gregg Downer said. “…. Foster is hard to deal with, and they’re a seasoned 20-1 ballclub. I think we shot too many quick threes tonight, but that’s because of Ridley’s defense.”
“Ryan played well in his offensive role tonight, Julian brought a lot of energy, and Mike Patterson has guarded their big man (6-8 senior forward Jeremy Horn) well both times we’ve played,” Snyder said.
Lower Merion outscored Ridley in both the second quarter (13-9) and third quarter (15-12), and kept the game fairly close throughout. Aces junior guard Terrell Jones hit a trio of 3-pointers and led Lower Merion with 12 points, while the Aces’ defense gave Ridley some problems.
“Lower Merion changes defenses more than other teams we play, which kept us off-balance at times,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to keep on your toes against them. Our players might think (Lower Merion is) running one defense, but the coaches see another (defense), and it’s tough to communicate with the players on the court here because the crowd is so loud.”
Ridley was also facing a different type of pressure coming into the game – keeping their unbeaten Central League record intact.
“As a coach, you have to keep it simple, take it one game at a time, and not look too far ahead,” Snyder said. “You have to remind the players to focus on this one game, give this moment all their effort and energy.”
Ridley had what looked like a comfortable lead at 39-28 midway through the third quarter, but Lower Merion rallied late in the stanza, as senior guard KJ Helton drive inside for a basket, then hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key just before the buzzer at the end of the quarter, to cut the lead to 39-35.
The Green Raiders had a 10-3 spurt at the beginning of the fourth quarter, then Lower Merion once more inched back into the game, and Helton and Horn (each of whom finished with 11 points) each scored, and then Helton drove inside to make it 49-44 with 1:06 left.
Ridley’s Kylon Hicks then broke free of the Lower Merion press to score underneath the basket, then Foster made a steal and drove in for a score to give the visitors a 53-44 lead.
|02/02/2016||7:00 pm||Central League||2015|