Connor Crabtree scored 27 points as Orange defeated Cedar Ridge 76-62 in the Big 8 Boys Semifinals on Wednesday night at Jim King Gymnasium.
Logan Vosburg added 21 points as the Panthers captured three wins over their crosstown rivals in the same season for the first time since Cedar Ridge move to the 3A in 2013.
The win sets up Friday’s Big 8 championship game as a match between Orange, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, against Big 8 regular-season champion Southern Durham. The rivals meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chapel Hill High School, shortly after the top-seeded hosts from Chapel Hill play No. 2-seeded Northwood in the girls final at 6 p.m.
Orange will be seeking its first Big 8 tournament championships since Greg Motley took in 1998 over as head coach at Orange.
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Southern advanced to the Big 8 boys championship game by crushing Northern Vance 83-54 in another semifinal game Wednesday night. Spartan sophomore Jomaru Brown had 26 points to lead all scorers, while Antonio Daye Jr. added 19 points.
Cedar Ridge came into Wednesday’s game having won 10 of its last 11, but couldn’t sustain the transition offense it treasured during that streak.
Jacob Thomas, who finished with 24 points, scored all but one of CRHS field goals in the first half. Peyton Pappas, the school’s all-time leading scorer, finished with 12, but only two field goals.
“Once he gave up the ball, we tried to keep him from getting it back,” Orange coach Greg Motley said. “We know he handles the ball well in transition, and we tried to limit that tonight.”
Orange (16-8) roared out to a 21-10 lead, and Cedar Ridge spent the rest of the game trying to whittle the deficit to single digits to no avail. The Red Wolves trimmed the deficit to 10 after Terrence Crawford sank a 3-pointer with 6:42 remaining.
Cedar Ridge moves on to the 3-A playoffs at 17-9.
The 6-5 Crabtree’s drives to the basket in the fourth quarter led to four consecutive free throws after Cedar Ridge narrowed the gap to 10 points.