Cedar Ridge survives opener against DSA
Cedar Ridge dominated the backboards and came up with some last-second luck to stave off extinction Monday night at Durham School of the Arts.
The Red Wolves survived a defensive error that opened the door for a potential game-tying 3-point try by DSA’s Markez Melvin with two seconds left and won their Carolina 12 2-A Tournament boys’ basketball opener 75-72 at Sykes Gymnasium.
Despite its elimination, DSA still would qualify for the state 2-A playoffs after its fourth-place regular-season finish. But a team seeded fifth, sixth or seventh.
Cedar Ridge, which finished No. 5 in the regular season, is in a must-win situation the rest of the way.
“The last time we played (DSA), we got 50 rebounds and we beat them,” Cedar Ridge coach Fred Blanks said of the Red Wolves’ 59-47 win on Feb. 5. “Before the game tonight, I told them we needed to get 50 rebounds again — and we did.”
“Boxing out,” DSA coach Chris Lockamy said when asked to sum up the reasons behind the loss. “Boxing out is something that’s plagued us all season, and it killed us tonight.”
The Red Wolves’ 51-27 edge on the boards was offset to some degree by the way DSA valued the ball. The Bulldogs turned the ball over just five times to 18 by Cedar Ridge.
The Bulldogs’ pressure defense was led by quick point man Shean Thorpe’s five steals, but DSA remained in the chase almost all night and almost miraculously came back late in the game.
Cold-shooting DSA used a 7-0 run to take its only lead of the night at 30-27 with 1:38 left in the first half, but Cedar Ridge outscored the Bulldogs 10-4 over the next frantic 1:35 to grab a 37-34 halftime lead.
Cedar Ridge — which had 6-2 junior Fred Villines pull down 15 rebounds, 6-2 senior Christian Chapman with 12 and 6-3 Dwyne Watkins with 10 — grew its lead to 69-62 with 1:58 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Villines (19 points), who scored 10 of the Red Wolves’ 22 fourth quarter points.
But DSA wouldn’t go away. James Marshall capped an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key off a feed from Bryce Griffin to make it 71-70 with 1:03 left.
Point guard Jaylin Grady made a pair of free throws for a 73-70 Cedar Ridge lead with 53.8 to play, and Villines was fouled after a DSA miss and Watkins rebound with 37.3 left and a chance to make it a two-possession game.
Villines, who previously had made all seven free throws, missed the front end of a one-and-one to give DSA life. James Marshall missing a driving shot for DSA, and Grady grabbed the rebound before losing his balance for a traveling call.
In frustration, Grady slammed the ball on the floor, drawing a technical foul.
Melvin hit the two free throws to make it 73-72 and kept possession with 24.9 to play. But DSA failed to convert, Grady got the rebound, Chapman was fouled and made both with 6.2 to play.
During a DSA timeout to set up the final play, Blanks called for a defense that would focus on stopping a 3-point try. He said later that his team apparently wasn’t listening because Melvin wound up wide open on the right wing, behind the arc. He missed long and Griffin couldn’t corral the offensive board before the buzzer sounded.
“We called something, but their best 3-point shooter wound up wide open anyway,” Blanks said of Melvin. “That’s something we’re going to work on in practice tomorrow.”
NOTES — Cedar Ridge will meet No. 2 seed Northwood in Pittsboro in Wednesday’s semifinals at 7 p.m. Northwood (15-9, 12-4) had a first-round bye Monday.
Cedar Ridge 75, DSA 72
CEDAR RIDGE — Jaylin Grady 10, Bryan McPherson 12, Christian Chapman 2, Dwyne Watkins 14, Fred Villines 19, Kyle Jones 8, Peyton Pappas 10.
DURHAM SCHOOL of the ARTS —Dejon Rodgers 4, Markez Melbin 5, James Marshall 10, Terrance Reddick 16, Bryce Griffin 9, Shean Thorpe 24, Dominique Moody 4.
Durham School of Arts|12|22|11|27—72
3-point FG—Cedar Ridge 1 (Pappas), DSA 6 (Reddick 2, Thorpe, Melvin, Marshall). Rebounds—Cedar Ridge 51 (Watkins 15), DSA 27 (Griffin 4). Blocked shots—Cedar Ridge 7 (Villines 4, Watkins 2, Chapman), DSA 3 (Moody 2, Jayson Jackson). Assists—Cedar Ridge 8 (Grady 2, Pappas 2), DSA (14 (Thorpe 5). Steals—Cedar Ridge 2 (Villines, Jones), DSA 7 (Thorpe 2, Griffin 2). Turnovers—Cedar Ridge 18 (Villines 4), DSA 5 (Griffin 2). Technical foul—Cedar Ridge 1 (Grady), DSA none.
Records—Cedar Ridge 19-16; Durham School of the Arts 9-10.