If iron indeed sharpens iron, Keenan and A.C. Flora got better on the first night of the Bojangles Bash at Ridge View High School.
The title contenders in their respective classes went at each from tip to the final buzzer with the Raiders pulling out a 66-57 victory behind the play of Asanti Price, Dillon Jones and Raekwon Horton.
“I hope this opens up our kids’ eyes,” Keenan coach Zach Norris said. “This was a big test. We can play two different styles, but these guys need to learn when to go and when to hold back. We did that pretty good in the fourth quarter.”
A.C. Flora coach Josh Staley echoed those thoughts.
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“Playing games like this exposes the things you want to work on,” Staley said. “You want to play tough teams early so we don’t have a false sense of success. I think the thing we can take from this game is we need to get a little bit tougher down the stretch.”
There were 11 lead changes and seven ties until Keenan took over in the fourth quarter. The Raiders outscored the Falcons 16-5, including the first six points of the quarter to take the lead for good, with Jones being a key component.
The 6-foot-6 junior, who has an offer from South Carolina, ran the point before fouling out with a minute remaining. He had 16 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and four assists in playing 31 minutes.
“Jones took over for about a three-and-a-half-minute stretch and imposed his will on us,” Staley said.
Jones was excited to play in the showcase event in front of a large crowd.
“It’s big because to get a win like this in this type of atmosphere will only help us down the road,” Jones said. “There were big stakes to this game just for bragging rights. But we learned from it too.”
Price also turned out to be a huge difference-maker. The transfer from Eau Claire scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter. Price was 10-of-13 from the field, 4-of-6 from three-point range, three steals and three rebounds.
“Price opens up the floor for us to let Dillon (Jones) go to work,” Norris said. “You saw that in the second half. He adds another shooter on the outside that makes us better for certain.”
A.C. Flora’s DJ Sinkler nearly matched Price shot for shot. The senior finished with 22 points, going 6-of-11 from the field that included 4-of-8 on three’s.
ACF – DJ Sinkler 22, Robert McCray 10, Iriel 8, Mobley 6, Butler 3, Moore 2, Riley 2, Jamison 1. K – Asanti Price 24, Dillon Jones 16, Raekwon Horton 16, Sanders 7, Morris 2, Taylor 1.
Ridge View 71, Aspire Academy (Ky.) 69
Crosby Harris-James scored at the buzzer to give Ridge View an exciting 71-69 victory over Aspire Academy in the nightcap.
The Blazers led by three late but Jihaun Westbrook hit a deep three-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining to tie it at 69. After a time out, JaVon Anderson threw a deep inbounds pass to Walyn Napper, who shoveled the pass to an open Harris-James under the basket for the game-winner.
Harris-James led the way with 21 points. Napper added 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Ja’Von Benson added 15 points and seven rebounds while Georgetown commit Malcolm Wilson had 10 rebounds and five blocks.
Coastal Carolina commit Ahmard Harvey led Aspire Academy (6-4) with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Westbrook finished with 18 points.
Ridge View 71, Aspire Academy (KY) 69
AA – Ahmard Harvey 23, Jihaun Westbrook 18, Caleb Fields 12, Prosper Obidiebube 10, Ramirez 3, Toney 3. RV – Crosby Harris-James 21, Ja’Von Benson 15, Walyn Napper 15, Anderson 7, Rice 5, Scott 4, Wilson 4.
Our Savior New American (NY) 88, Hartsville 48
H – Trae Hannibal 28, Capehart 8, Cuffie 4, Edwards 3, O’Neal 2, Pendergrass 2, Hough 1. OS – Jonathan Kuminga 30, Hassan Drame 16, Fousseyni Drame 13, Barre 9, Berrios 8, Townsend 5, Bastos 5, McPherson 2.
5 p.m. Gray Collegiate vs Aspire Academy (KY)
6:15 p.m. Hunting Prep (WV) vs Our Savior New American (NY)
7:30 p.m. Dorman vs Trinity Christian (NC)
8:45 p.m. Oak Hill (VA) vs Ridge View