River Ridge boys cap ascent with region crown
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
February 20, 2014 04:05 AM | 1612 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One year after they qualified for the region tournament for the first time, the River Ridge boys basketball team won it all by beating Gilmer on Wednesday.
<BR>Staff photo by Emily Horos
One year after they qualified for the region tournament for the first time, the River Ridge boys basketball team won it all by beating Gilmer on Wednesday.
Staff photo by Emily Horos
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WHITE – When River Ridge coach Matt Bohon looks back on his five seasons as the helm of the boys basketball team, he can’t help but see a lot of growth.

On Wednesday, Bohon witnessed another step in the growing process as the Knights won their first region title by defeating Gilmer 67-40 in the Region 7AAAA tournament at Cass.

“Coming to (River Ridge) as a brand-new school, this was one of our goals to get the foundation started,” Bohon said. “These (seniors) were eighth-graders when I got there and they were a special group of eighth-graders. They got to be seniors and they are doing all kinds of firsts. This is only our second region tournament. We didn’t play in one until last year, so the second one they got in, they one.”

The victory also gave the Knights 20 wins on the season.

Early in the game, the victory didn’t look as certain as the final score might have indicated.

River Ridge trailed 16-8 with a minute left in the first quarter after Gilmer’s JoeBob Charles drained a pair of 3-pointers. It wasn’t until Nick Masterson hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds in the period that the Knights found a spark. Still, they trailed 16-13 entering the second quarter.

River Ridge tightened up its defense in the second quarter and held the Bobcats to just six points, while pouring in 16 of their own to take a 29-22 lead at the break

In the second half, the Knights continued with their theme of spreading the defense out and taking long shots. Jon Karlin, Steven Spears, Anthony Odom and Masterson hit consecutive 3-pointers as River Ridge took a 43-28 lead with 2:54 left in the third. When Karlin hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter and made a foul shot to complete a rare four-point play, the Knights were on top 47-28.

They would lead 49-33 after three quarters. In the fourth, River Ridge worked in some substitutes, but it didn’t let up. Riley Ormsby made a late 3-pointer and Trevor Sorrells made the final basket of the game while the first string cheered from the bench.

Bohon said he wasn’t worried when the Knights were down early. In the previous two meetings with Gilmer, River Ridge was either up by a basket or behind at the half.

“That is the most we have been ahead of them at the half all season,” Bohon said. “One time, we were up two or three points, and the other time, we were down by 10. I didn’t feel like we played very well the first half and we were up seven, so I actually felt pretty good.”

Karlin led River Ridge with 19 points and Masterson finished with 16. Joel Thacker and Odem each finished with nine.

Charles led Gilmer with 17 points.

River Ridge will host first-round Class AAAA state playoff games for both the girls and boys tournaments Saturday. The girls will play Sandy Creek, while the boys face Carrollton.

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