HIGH-SCHOOL

Ridgewood boys' basketball squares off with one of state's top-ranked teams

Mindy Carls
Ridgewood's Alex Main (6-0) almost gets the tip despite giving up five inches to Monmouth-Roseville's Trayvon Smith (6-5) as the regional quarterfinal game begins on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Orion.

The very young Ridgewood team took on senior-dominated Monmouth -Roseville in boys’ basketball regional quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Orion.

With seniors scoring 26 of their 34 points in the first half, Mon-Rose overwhelmed Ridgewood 75-43.

The Spartans were within 10 points late into the first period.

After the game, Ridgewood coach Casey Adamson spoke about the lack of experience of his team.

“We got continuously younger (during the season),” he said. “We didn’t start out that way. We are four guys away from being a frosh-soph team.”

The Spartans were running the floor with one of the state’s top 10 teams, Adamson said.

“I’m pleased,” he said. “Even with the blowout, they weren’t intimidated. They never quit. The intensity never let down.”

Adamson’s top goal for his players before the first varsity tipoff in November?

“We’ve just got to work in the offseason on getting taller,” he said.

Mon-Rose had a 5-0 lead when Elisha McCreary grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball through the hoop about 90 seconds into the game.

The Titans ran to a 12-2 lead. With about 4:40 on the clock, the Spartans broke the press with an outlet pass to James Brooks, who scored his team’s second basket.

Mon-Rose responded with a quick bucket, but Ridgewood responded with Ridge Greenman’s three-ball at 4:09.

The Titans netted a trey of their own to restore the 10-point lead at 17-7, but the Spartans cut into it with Jorge Urbina’s pass to Brooks for a basket.

Mon-Rose ran the lead to 12 points at 21-9, but Brooks was fouled when Martel Hunter blocked his shot. Brooks made the first of his free throws.

After Hunter put up a basket, Greenman hit a three to keep Ridgewood only 10 back with 2:12 on the clock.

About a minute later, McCreary nailed two free throws, leaving Ridgewood 11 back at 26-15.

The first period ended with the Titans leading 30-15.

During the second and third quarters, Mon-Rose outscored Ridgewood 37-12.

The Spartans posted six points in each quarter, with Greenman and Alex Main netting field goals and Chad Leathers dropping in free throws in the second period.

In the third, Mon-Rose only had an 11-6 edge.

The Spartans were scoreless until Blayne Street popped in a basket with just under three minutes to go in the period. About a minute later, he added two free throws. In between, Andrew Steider connected from the elbow.

The fourth quarter saw Ridgewood outscore Mon-Rose 16-8.

Early in the period, Urbina pulled off a steal and scored the Spartans’ 28th and 29th points.

Levi Reed posted two points on a second-chance basket in the paint.

Brooks completed an old-fashioned 3-point play with a free throw as the scoreboard showed less than four minutes to go in the game.

Ridgewood finished strong, coming up with nine points in the last 90 seconds.

Brooks and Joey Lambin each spun in a basket.

Lambin then pulled off a steal and whipped the ball to Steider, who dropped it through the iron for the 39th and 40th points.

Ridgewood wrapped up the scoring with Street getting the ball to Brooks on the perimeter for a three.

STATISTICS

Tuesday, Feb. 21

Ridgewood at Class 2A regional in Orion

Quarterfinals

Monmouth-Roseville 75, Ridgewood 43

RWD    15    6    6    16—43

MRHS    30    26    11    8—75

Points scored: James Brooks 13, Ridge Greenman 8, Blayne Street 4, Andrew Steider 4, Alisha McCreary 4, Chad Leathers 2, Alex Main 2, Levi Reed 2, Jorge Urbina 2, Joey Lambin 2.

3-pt. field goals: Team 3, Greenman 2, Brooks 1. Mon-Rose 6.

Free-throw leaders: Team 8-18, Leathers 2-2, Street 2-2, McCreary 2-2. Mon-Rose 9-13.

Record: Orion 18-5 overall.