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Ridgecroft wins TIC tourney title on Chamblee’s late basket

AHOSKIE – Sawyer Chamblee successfully connected on just two baskets here Friday night, but it was the last one that will forever live in Ridgecroft School basketball history.

Chamblee’s shot found the bottom of the net with six seconds left, propelling the Rams to a thrilling 60-59 come-from-behind victory over Pungo Christian Academy in the championship game of the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament.

Members of the Ridgecroft School varsity boys basketball team pose with the conference tournament championship trophy following their dramatic 60-59 win on Friday vs. Pungo. Kneeling, from left, are Avery Jernigan, Preston Edwards, Justin Peterson, Michael Brown, and Colby Hauser. Standing, from left, are Caleb Porter, Baron Chamblee, Sawyer Chamblee, Lane Slatcha, Garrett Brown and head coach Kris Khan, who was named as the conference’s Coach of the Year. Photo by William Anthony

Ridgecroft (9-2 overall) also captured the league’s regular season title, but to add the tournament hardware to their trophy case they first had to overcome the upset-minded Raiders (6-7 overall) who lost at Ridgecroft by 26 points earlier in the season.

Pungo’s Miller Lee scored 22 of his game-high 30 points in the first half where the Raiders held a 31-28 lead. Lee added two more baskets in the third quarter, as did Wilson Sawyer, Fortino Beltran, and Josh Reynolds as the Raiders added to their lead at 49-44 by the end of the period.

But the final eight minutes belonged to Ridgecroft.

Sparked by a pair of clutch three-pointers by Baron Chamblee, the Rams worked their way back into the game.

Trailing 59-57 with under 20 seconds remaining, Ridgecroft’s full court pressure forced a Pungo turnover. On the ensuing fast break, Preston Edwards was fouled and went to the charity stripe where he connected on one of two free throws, narrowing his team’s deficit to just one point at 59-58.

Pungo rebounded the missed free throw and was fouled with 14 seconds left, but the Raiders misfired on both charity tosses and Sawyer Chamblee rebounded. That led to a time-out called by Ridgecroft coach Kris Khan with 11 ticks left on the clock.

Coming out of the time-out, Sawyer Chamblee received the inbounds pass and dribbled upcourt before launching a running one-hander from the left of the lane that kissed off the glass and into the net with six seconds remaining.

That basket proved as the game-winner as Pungo missed a last-second shot.

The Rams were led by Tournament MVP Caleb Porter’s 17 points. Porter inflicted the majority of his scoring damage in the third quarter where he sank two baskets and connected on 4-of-6 free throws.

Sawyer Chamblee, Baron Chamblee, and Justin Peterson each added nine points for the Rams. Colby Hauser chipped in seven points; Edwards finished with four; Garrett Brown had three points, and Lane Slachta tallied two points.

The Rams opened play last night (Tuesday) in the first round of the Class 1A division of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s state play-offs.

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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