Orange, Cedar Ridge split tragedy-tainted basketball twinbill
Either the defense was very good Saturday when Orange and Cedar Ridge renewed their rivalry, or the shooting was just awful.
“We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. The defense was good,” Orange coach Greg Motley quipped after his Panthers got a 40-34 road win. “But, no, we struggled shooting the ball. It’s been a really tough week for our kids, and stuff. I didn’t know how they would play.”
It was the first time the Panthers played since two of their classmates, Chase Underhill and Kacie Chamberlain, died Dec. 29 when the pickup truck they were in with two more people veered off Little River Church Road in Hillsborough and struck a tree.
Authorities believe the occupants in the truck and another vehicle were racing.
“We weren’t sure whether we should even play the game, but they wanted to play,” Motley said. “They pulled it out.”
Before the Orange-Cedar Ridge girls’ game, Cedar Ridge principal John Wheeler asked those in the gym to reflect on the deaths during a moment of silence.
Underhill and Chamberlain, who were juniors at Orange, were widely known at Cedar Ridge, Wheeler said.
Once the basketball was tipped, the Lady Panthers didn’t even manage to get one field goal in the first period, allowing Cedar Ridge to sprint to a 20-3 lead that it never relinquished in a 56-23 win.
Motley said he would have liked to have seen his boys play better under the pressure of such a big game.
The gym wasn’t packed, but there was no shortage of bodies. Even the junior varsity boys’ game had a sizeable crowd.
Cedar Ridge girls’ coach Jeremy Heinold said Saturday’s games were played on the weekend to allow more fans an opportunity to get in on the rivalry.
Cedar Ridge boys’ coach Fred Blanks said his Red Wolves don’t have a great scorer, so they put a premium on getting stops.
“Our guys buy into the fact that we’re a defensive team,” Blanks said.
If the Red Wolves had bought in at the charity stripe, they might have beaten Orange — Cedar Ridge missed 14 free throws, Blanks said.
“That’s the difference in the game,” Blanks said.
Orange left a bunch of points at the line, too.
“We’ve got to get better and pick it up in practice,” Orange guard Sean Motley said.
Sean Motley pulled double duty as a something of a grief counselor for his teammates.
Back in September, Sean Motley’s girlfriend, Ciara Malloy, 17, of Durham, was killed in a single-car crash against a tree after losing control of her vehicle on Durham’s Clayton Road.
Wounds from deaths like Malloy’s, Underhill’s and Chamberlain’s linger even in resilient teenagers, Sean Motley said.
“Personally, it never goes away,” Sean Motley said. “But every day, it just gets better. I just told everybody that things will get better. Some days will be worse than others, but just stay together, and times will get better.”
Orange 40, Cedar Ridge 34
ORANGE — Jawan Chambers 4, Rell Satterwhite 3, Jalen Pittman 5, Matt Gattis 6, Sean Motley 3, Keegan Crabtree 2, J.D. Brooks 5, Andrew Toney 1, Brandon Frye 2, Eryk Dean 7, Jalen Johnson 2.
CEDAR RIDGE — Bryan McPherson 4, Jaylin Grady 9, Dwyne Watkins 3, Kyle Jones 6, Ray Carter 5, Raquan Villines 7.
Records — Orange 5-7, Cedar Ridge 4-8.
Cedar Ridge 56, Orange 23
ORANGE — Alicia Harris 3, Nycol Lyons 9, Deja Johnson 8, Catlin Denson 3.
CEDAR RIDGE — Kacia Vines 11, Delaney King 8, Taylor Leathers 2, Holli Butler 11, Kyley Clark 8, Abi Clayton 3, Taylor Burton 2, Chelsea Hall 4, Sarah Howard 4, Cheyenne Silva 2, Devana Turner 3.
Records — Orange 2-9, Cedar Ridge 7-6.