Late Game 3-Pointer Moves Ridge Hoops Ahead in State Playoffs
The Ridge Red Devils beat North Hunterdon to now face Bridgewater-Raritan in state semifinals on Friday.
Ridge High School's Red Devils boys basketball (26-1) faced North Hunterdon for the third time this season and came away with the same result as the other two games, a win. But this win was a quarterfinal game in the North 2 Group 4 state championship playoffs.
The game was played Wednesday night at Ridge and the Red Devils' 54-46 win means the team will face Bridgewater-Raritan on Friday for the N2G4 state semifinals.
North Hunterdon this time faced Ridge as a tougher contender than during previous games, holding the Red Devils to within a few point throughout.
With just 2:40 remaining in the game, North Hunterdon held a 41-40 lead over Ridge — and then Derek Lyons put up a 3-point basket from the right side that brought the entire gym full of Ridge fans to their feet.
North Hunterdon would try to stay in the game fouling Ridge to stop the clock, but the Red Devils would go 10 of 12 from the free throw line, and hold the Lions to 9 points in the fourth quarter.
Ridge scoring leaders were Derek Lyons with 16 points, including 9 for 10 from the charity stripe, and Kevin Doolan with 12 points.
"Survive and advance, that's all it's about this time of year," said Ridge head coach Brian Feath. "It is state tournament time and everybody's going to give their best shot. Everyone's coming off of a win so confidence is high and seniors are fighting for their careers now so they will give you everything they've got."
"It doesn't matter the record, doesn't matter where we finished in the county, [taking the Somerset County tournament] — every game is going to be a tough hard-nosed grind-it-out game. Nothing will be easy, period," Feath said.
Ridge will play Bridgewater-Raritan, decisive winners in Wednesday night's 72-50 victory over Watchung Hills. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday at Ridge.