They did it again. Not only did the Ridge High School boys win for a second time this season over the North Hunterdon Lions, but the 59-40 victory on the Lions' home turf on Thursday night added to the team's 11-0 unbeaten record for the season.
North Hunterdon, which had won eight out of that team's 11 games, put up a fight and were in the lead at one point.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL Ridge (11-0) 17 8 15 19 59 North (8-5)
7 12 9 12 40
Due to scheduling issues, Ridge and North Hunterdon played Thursday evening in the "old" gym at North Hunterdon at a rescheduled time of 5:30 p.m. That meant that the varsity team had to adjust to "a lot of adversity today, playing in a different gym, a different time, a whole different schedule, noted Ridge coach Brian Feath.
Ridge got off to a slow start but went into halftime with a 6-point lead, 25-19.
But North Hunterdon, coming off an eight-game winning streak, came back in the third quarter to make it a one possession game at 30-28.
Although the Red Devils had Eric Klacik on the bench with three fouls and big men Matt Gerrity and Hugh Morris operating less than 100 percent due to illness, Ridge charged back to take a 20-point lead.
"I thought the kids responded well in the second half. From the 4-minute mark in the third quarter to the 4-minute mark in the fourth, we played outstanding basketball," said Feath.
"I am really proud of the way they responded in the second half," Feath said. "Not every game is going to be a 30 point win, not every game is going to be a breeze. It is a long season. Teams are giving you their best shot, they are coming after you hard. Their is no pressure on them and they are just going to come out swinging. North is a really good ball club, they are for real. Teams are not going to lie down for us because we are undefeated, for a lot of teams, this is their Super Bowl. They are looking to knock us off."
The Devil of the game was Ryan Byrnes with 8 points.
"I thought Byrnes was phenomenal off the bench," Feath said. "With Hugh Morris and Matt Garrity sick the last couple of days, we did didn't know how many minutes they could give us. Byrnes gave that spark, that energy lift, and gave us some great production off the bench."
Other key performances came from the "under the weather boys", Hugh Morris who scored his 7 points in the second half and Matt Gerrity who scored 8 points, both with limited minutes on the floor.
Up Next — Ridge will play Saturday at home against New Brunswick at 2:30 p.m.