For the first time ever, the Orange-Cedar Ridge basketball doubleheader unfolded on a Saturday afternoon. Those who decided to forego the malls for holiday shopping got a holiday present.
In two games that went down to the wire, Orange swept the doubleheader from the host Red Wolves. In the boys game, the Panthers claimed its fourth straight win over Cedar Ridge 60-59. In the girls game, Orange held off Cedar Ridge 42-34.
Orange (5-0, 1-0) held Cedar Ridge scoreless for the final 4:44 and finished the game on a 10-0 run. Guard Janea Myers had two steals down the stretch, including one that led to the game’s final field goal from Icez Barnett. Kaylen Campbell led Orange with 13 points, while Barnett and Lauren Coats finished with seven.
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Trailing 28-27, Orange opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from Campbell. It was the first of four lead changes in the fourth quarter. Cedar Ridge’s Carrie Davis, who was injured in a midcourt collision with Mia Davidson for a loose ball in the third quarter, finished with 10 points.
Cedar Ridge went 5-of-20 from the foul line.
It’s the first time Orange has started 5-0 under head coach B.J. Condron.
“Any time Orange and Cedar Ridge play, it’s a battle,” said Condron. “I think we managed the game well toward the end. Myers’ steal made it easier to close out the game. This is a long season and the competition is going to get better and better.”
In a game with 11 lead changes and nine ties, Orange (4-3, 1-0) relied on senior Connor Crabtree for its fourth straight win over the Red Wolves. Crabtree finished with 23 points, 15 in the second half.
It was a day that belonged to freshmen. Orange’s Joey McMillin had 15 points and shot four-of-eight from 3-point range. Mitch Portman had five points and six assists. For Cedar Ridge, freshman Mekai Collins had eight points and four assists.
Leading 27-25 at the half, Orange bridged the gap in the third quarter with a 15-4 run, a span where Crabtree scored ten.
Cedar Ridge was held to 31 percent shooting from the field.
“That’s been a focus of ours,” said Orange coach Greg Motley. “We feel we have good offensive guys who are offensive minded. So we actually have been working on defense in practice trying to gem them to play as hard on defense as they do on offense. I thought they did a little better tonight.”
Cedar Ridge (3-3, 0-1) whittled the lead down to 55-52 with 1:22 remaining. The Red Wolves were led by Khalil Barnett’s 16 points.
“I’m proud of my team’s effort,” said Cedar Ridge coach Clay Jones. “We went through a lot of things this week, three games. Early morning practices. For us to come out here and play one of the best teams in the area….all you ask for is a chance to win at the end. That’s what we had. Connor is a tough player.”