For the second night in a row, Ridge View’s boys basketball team parlayed a strong second-half performance into a bounce-back win over a tough Midlands rival.
The Blazers secured their first win of the season vs. Irmo on Tuesday, thanks to a solid performance after intermission. The same was true on Wednesday when RV steadily pulled away from Richland Northeast over the course of the final 16 minutes to prevail 75-61. It was the first setback of the season for the Cavaliers (3-1).
In both cases, Ridge View (2-3) avenged losses suffered against the area foes in the first week of the season.
RNE took a 27-26 lead at halftime thanks to a late 3-pointer by Travis Hammonds. The Blazers went on a 23-18 run in the third quarter, but saw the Cavaliers cut the deficit to just two points midway through the final frame. The Blazers, however, took command down the stretch behind the play of veterans Raymond Jeter, Jamar Gillispie, Mike Green and Jamie Portee. The four three-year varsity vets combined for all the Blazers points during the decisive 26-19 move in the fourth quarter.
“RNE has a great tradition of being one of the best basketball programs in the state and anytime you can beat them it is a good win,” said Blazers coach John Combs.
“Jamar Gillespie had a great second half for us tonight, just like he did the night before against Irmo. In the second half we were more patient and made more passes to get better shots. In the end I believe what really help us win the game was our team defense. We were fortunate to come up with some big stops and steals in critical points in the game that gave us some easy scoring opportunities.
“Our older guys did a great job as a team of finishing the game off against a very good team. What scares me is we took a couple of ill advise shots late in the game--but they actually went in. I hope our team will understand we can't depend on certain shots late in the game and a lead to always be the best option. As a whole I do think we are playing smarter basketball than what we were doing at this same point last year--but we still have a ways to go before we get were we need to be.”
Gillespie led all scorers with 22 points, 17 coming in the second half. Johnson (14 points), Green (13), Jeter (11) and Portee (10) were Ridge View’s other double-digit contributors. Green was back in action after sitting out the Irmo rematch on Tuesday with an injury.
Donald Tenton and Jarred Guest paced the balanced RNE scoring attack with 11 points apiece, and Chris Branch added 10 to the cause.