High School Sports

Orange powers past rival Cedar Ridge boys basketball behind Crabtree’s 32 points

Nine months later, the Orange boys basketball finally got even with Cedar Ridge.

The Panthers (2-3, 1-0 Big 8) defeated their crosstown rival 71-67 behind 32 points from Connor Crabtree on Friday night at a crowded and sweltering Jim King Gymnasium. It was the conference opener for both teams.

Jacob Thomas had a career-high 24 for Cedar Ridge (6-3, 0-1), who swept the Panthers last season. The final victory in February ruined Orange’s chances of winning the Big 8 Championship.

“It feels good to get this one,” said Crabtree, who received a scholarship offer from Lehigh on Wednesday. “It was devastating to lose to them last year. We got another one on Tuesday to worry about.”

Orange jumped out to a 12-4 lead and never trailed in the game. However, a 3-pointer by Cedar Ridge’s Khalil Barnett tied the game at 57-all with 3:55 remaining.

The Panthers’ Logan Vosburg connected on a jump hook on the ensuing possession to give Orange the lead back. After a Cedar Ridge miss, Crabtree connected on a 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead to stay.

Cedar Ridge faces Northern Vance on Tuesday night in Hillsborough. Orange hosts Riverside on Tuesday in a nonconference affair.

Turning point

Crabtree’s 3-pointer with 3:02 remaining gave Orange a 5-point lead that the Red Wolves could never come back from. The Panthers utilized a 2-3 zone to kept the ball away from Thomas, who had 14 second-half points. But only three of them came in the final four minutes, a desperation three-pointer in the closing seconds.

They said it

“We never got the lead. You can’t win a game if you don’t ever get ahead. We withstood some of their runs and tied it up. But we never got ahead. They hit some shots tonight and hat is off to them. I think we lost (Jacob) a little bit late. We were worried about hitting the home run shot,” Cedar Ridge head coach Clay Jones said.

By the numbers

17: Points by Orange center Logan Vosburg

2: Bench points for Cedar Ridge.

5: Number of games played by Orange since Dec. 1, when they opened with a loss at East Chapel Hill. The Panthers have four football players in their rotation who are just three weeks removed from the end of gridiron season.