Ridge View has shown the ability to come back during the early part of the season.
That came in handy in Friday’s Region 4-4A opener, as the third-ranked Blazers rallied from a 16-point, second-half deficit to defeat Westwood 65-59.
“Being down isn’t something new to us, unfortunately. Our team has been really good when we have been behind,” Ridge View coach John Combs said. “We weren’t playing that bad in the first half offensively. And then, I think, our guys gained some momentum making shots and that helped with our defense.”
Cainan Griffin and Kaiden Rice helped spearhead the Blazers’ comeback effort. Griffin led the way with 17 points, while Rice added 12. The duo had 25 of their 29 points in the second half, and accounted for all but three of the Blazers’ 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Ridge View (9-2, 1-0) trailed 45-29 with 4:28 left in the third quarter. That’s when Rice, who was scoreless in the first half, got going. He hit a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to cut the margin to 45-41.
Griffin gave Ridge View its first lead at 46-45 on a layup early in the fourth quarter. After the two teams exchanged leads, Rice hit a 3-pointer and Griffin had a fast-break basket to put the Blazers up for good at 55-51 with 3:50 left.
“In the past few games, we have gone through adversity, especially in the first half,” Griffin said. “But once we get in the locker room at halftime, we talk about it, encourage each other and keep going. That’s what we did tonight.”
Ridge View’s length and pressure was able to cause problems for Westwood, which was able to dictate the pace and tempo of the game in building the lead. Xavier Davis and Jordan Watson led the Redhawks (8-6, 0-1) with each 11 points apiece.
“We gave them one, because I feel like we beat them except for the second half when they made their run,” Westwood coach Terry Dozier said. “Every team is going to make runs at all levels of basketball, but you’ve got to withstand it very well. It got physical and we didn’t handle it very well. We were in a rush and the first half, we were patient.”
W: Barnes 9, Jones 8, Xavier Davis 11, Jordan Watson 11, RV: Cainan Griffin 17, Alewine 5, Khalil Lewis 13, Fleming 6, Kaiden Rice 12, Johnson 4, High 2, Corley 2, Coatie 4.
Westwood 65, Ridge View 60
Freshman Unique Drake poured in a career-high 35 points as the Redhawks defeated Ridge View.
Drake scored 24 of her 35 points in the second half as Westwood erased a 10-point deficit.
“Her name is appropriate. She is unique,” Westwood coach Gregory Bauldrick said. “She can score, run the offense and knows when she has to take over the game to get the momentum on our side.”
With the win, Westwood adds to its best start in school history. At 13-1, the Redhawks already have broken the school record for wins, which was nine, and are ranked third in the South Carolina Coaches Poll.
“We got to stay humble and can’t get the big head. We got to keep grinding,” Drake said.
Armanii Grice led Ridge View (7-4, 0-1) with 19.
W: Davis 1, M. Britt 4, Marshall 2, Unique Drake 35, Lockett 3, Belton 9, Taylor Britt 12. RV: Ajukwa 3, Hobbs 1 Addison 8, Armanii Grice 19, Rogers 4, Erica Tisdale 15, Anderson 6, Gainey 4, Harts 2.