|Bolton’s Samaria Grandberry and Ridgeway’s Oreonna Brown, who scored 14 points, battle in the paint Sunday during the Roadrunners’ 64-58 win at Bolton|
Facing the double whammy of foul trouble and momentum from upstart Bolton, Ridgeway had to quickly find an anchor to keep its dream season going Saturday night. It found two as juniors Oreonna Brown and Eryn Foster steadied things long enough for the Roadrunners to claim a 64-58 victory in Saturday’s Class AAA sectional round game at Bolton.
The Roadrunners (29-4), still smarting from district and regional tournament final losses to Houston, will join the Mustangs in the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro.
“We’ve faced adversity all season and it came again tonight, but our kids stayed poised and stayed positive,” said Ridgeway coach Rhonda Kendall, who is 74-17 in three seasons at the school. “When I got here I thought it would take 4-5 years, but this team really showed itself.”
Foster, a 6-2 force in the paint, scored 10 of her 18 points in the final quarter, including a putback basket that gave the Roadrunners the lead for good at 59-57.
“I slowed down more this game, and shots felt better,” said Foster, who had rushed several shots in the regional final. She left the game twice with left knee problems, and she was helped off the court in the final seconds.
Kendall said, “I told her what we needed from her this game, and she really stepped it up when it mattered. She’s a beautiful kid, inside and out.”
Brown scored eight of her 14 points early, but like many of her teammates she got into foul trouble. Still, she managed six points in the final quarter.
“We kept encouraging each other, telling ourselves we could do this,” Brown said.
The Wildcats, down 12 early in the second quarter, roared back behind sophomore Charity Savage, who scored 14 of her 24 points in the second half despite taking an elbow in the head during one dash for a rebound.
“We weren’t going down without a fight,” Savage said.
With Ridgeway forced into zone coverage, the Wildcats started raining 3-pointers down the stretch. Senior Kayla Bolden had five 3-pointers and 18 points, including a 3-pointer off a cross-court feed from Savage that gave Bolton (22-8) a 56-55 lead with 2½ minutes to play.
“There’s a couple of plays you’d like to have back, but these kids couldn’t play any harder,” said Bolton coach Jason Martin, whose team was 7-20 a year ago. “They’ve got it going in the right direction.”
Class AAA sectional: Jaida Roper scored 21 points, Alise Parker 19 and shutdown defense in the middle two quarters powered Houston (26-7) to a 50-33 win over Dyer County (25-4) for a berth in the state tournament.
Class AA sectional: Visiting Martin Westview rallied in the fourth quarter, then outscored Covington (26-8) 17-8 in overtime for a 69-60 victory despite 23 points from the Chargers’ Precious Harvey.
Mississippi Class 6A North Half final: Olivia Cunningham scored 18 points, A’Queen Hayes added 16 and Horn Lake (27-1) rolled to a 77-33 win over Olive Branch, led by Mahoguny Vaught’s nine points. Both teams advance to the state tournament, which starts March 12 in Jackson.