Don’t ever accuse Ridge View boys basketball coach John Combs of padding his schedule with easy games to make an impression for polling purposes.
“We started the season at 9-0 in my first year at Ridge View, but I think the kids got the idea that maybe they were a little better than they were and it eventually caught up with us,” said Combs, as his team prepares for a killer stretch of four road games in seven days prior to the start of the Chick-fil-A Classic at Richland Northeast on Dec. 19.
“That’s when I made the decision to put together the toughest schedule I could so we would know exactly where we stood as a basketball team by the time the region season began. Our schedule this season isn’t designed for putting together a great record, though our goal is to win the next game we play regardless of the opponent.”
The Blazers, who started the season ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, are off to a 0-2 start after dropping games to Dutch Fork and Richland Northeast last week. Now, the fun really begins. Ridge View plays at Irmo tonight (Tuesday) at Dutch Fork on Wednesday and at Calhoun County on Friday before heading to Virginia for a Monday game against nationally renowned Oak Hill Academy.
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“Those are four pretty easy games, right?” mused Combs. “But to have the opportunity to play great teams like Calhoun County and Oak Hill Academy should be a tremendous experience for my kids. The trip to Oak Hill should be a great bonding experience. I know I’m excited about the schedule we've lined up over the next few weeks.”
Oak Hill is ranked as high as No. 3 nationally (by EPSN High Elite 25), while three-time defending Class 1A champion Calhoun County is ranked No. 1 among small schools again. Zam Frederick’s Saints, who are idle until the Blazers some to St. Matthews on Friday, are riding a state record 79-game winning streak.
“I’m really looking forward to Zam’s team, and playing down there is going to be very challenging,” said Combs. “This is not a typical 1A team. They are talented, very well coached and play as hard and as well as any 4A team.”
In January, the Blazers have a rematch with Cahoun County at home and road trip to take on SCISA powerhouse Pinewood Prep.
Combs said the varsity game at Oak Hill Academy will be broadcast on the internet at http://www.oakhillhoops.com/.