A blowout defeat in its regular-season finale got the attention of the Ridge View boys basketball team.
The Blazers bounced back from Friday’s loss to Westwood and defeated Daniel, 63-49, on Wednesday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. Ridge View will host North Augusta, 67-51 winners over Greer, on Saturday in the second round of the playoffs.
“We had a letdown our last regular-season game. We didn’t play well,” first-year Ridge View coach Yerrick Stoneman said. “But our kids came back and we focused and had a lot of good practices leading up to this.”
Stoneman thought his players might have been too confident with their recent success, so the loss to Westwood might have brought them back to reality. Before that loss, the Blazers (14-7) won nine of 10 games, clinched the Region 3-4A title and rose to a season-best No. 4 in the Class 4A poll.
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“We had a big week of practice and everyone was focused,” Ridge View’s Tre’ High said. “We just pushed each other to play a better game today.”
All-State selection Kaiden Rice led the Blazers with 17 points. High added 12, all in the second half, as Ridge View took control of the game in the third quarter.
Daniel, which trailed by as many as 12 points in the third, went on a 11-2 run and cut the deficit to 33-29 on Deante Bennett’s basket. Bennett had seven of his team-high 15 points during that run.
But Ridge View closed the quarter on a 10-2 run as High hit a 3-pointer during the stretch to give the Blazers a 43-31 lead after three quarters.
The Lions (14-11) got within eight points with 2:27 left, but the Blazers were able to put it away. Rice scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
“That spurt they had sparked us a bit and woke us up a little bit more,” Stoneman said. “The kids know the goal we set at the beginning of the season is get to the Colonial Life Arena. So it put a little scare into us. We were able to fight back.”
D: Demarcus Gay 13, Deonte Bennett 15, Cote 2, Bradley 6, Gibbs 4, Benson 5. RV: Coatie 3, Fleming 4, Tre’ High 12, Johnson 7, McCaskill 2, Waylyn Napper 10, Neal-Taylor, Kaiden Rice 17, Wilson 2, Rogers-Anderson 2.