It took just one half to make sure Ridge View was headed back to its second straight championship game.
Led by guards Crosby Harris-James and Cincere Scott, Ridge View stormed out to a big first-half lead on its way to a 76-53 win over Wren on Friday in the Class 4A Upper State championship.
The Blazers face Wilson for the Class 4A championship on March 2 at Colonial Life Arena. The teams met last year in the title game with Ridge View winning, 74-70.
“For the first time, I can take a deep breath because the target has been on our back all season,” Ridge View coach Yerrick Stoneman said. “Lot of pressure to get back and lot of pressure we put on ourselves because we have expectations now. For three years I have been there, we expected to win every game and I don’t let them think no different.
“But we still got one goal left and have a big task ahead of us.”
Scott and Harris-James each finished with 27 points and did most of their damage in the first half with Scott scoring 23 and Harris-James 19 in the first two quarters.
Scott, like many of his teammates, was no stranger to Bon Scours Wellness Arena after playing there last season. But he was on South Aiken’s team, which lost to Ridge View 60-47 in the Upper State championship.
The junior had 11 points for South Aiken against Ridge View in that game but had 12 in the first quarter and hit five 3-pointers in the first half.
“When the first three went in, I thought I was going to have a good game because when I hit the first shot I usually do,” Scott said. “We had a goal to get back to state and now we are here.”
“He is a gamer,” Stoneman said of Scott. “I think he always has confidence when he walks in the gym or wakes up. He knows he can shoot it from anywhere and make it.”
While Scott did his damage from the outside, Harris-James got out in transition on the Blazers fastbreak. He had a pair of dunks late in the first half in the 48-23 halftime lead.
Ridge View was never threatened after that. Wren could only get as close as 14 points in the second half.
Center Malcolm Wilson added 10 rebounds and 10 blocks for the Blazers.
Sophomore Bryce McGowens led Wren with 21 points before leaving the game in the second half after taking a hard fall on a foul by Malcolm Wilson.
W: Ammons 5, Ferguson 9, Bryce McGowens 21, Dendy 1, Wilson 3, Davis 4, Bruce 3, Owens 7. RV: Crosby Harris-James 27, Cincere Scott 27, Napper 8, Parrott 4, Wilson 2, Anderson 6, Benson 2.