HILLSIDE, NJ - The final minutes may have turned out a bit more nerve-racking than they would have hoped, but the Ridge boys basketball team's splendid effort in the second quarter gave the Red Devils enough of a cushion to survive a late rally by Hillside for a 61-55 victory Saturday afternoon.
Ridge led by as much as 28 points in the third quarter before the Comets began chipping away late in that period and then mustered another rally down the stretch of the final quarter.
Chris Feringa scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Ridge (8-12), which sank nearly 50 percent (21 for 43) from the floor and outdid Hillside (5-11) at the foul line. While Ridge hit 17 of 22 foul shots, the hosts were just 11-for-21 from the stripe.
Ridge trailed, 6-2, midway through the first quarter before unleashing a 14-0 run to take a 10-point lead. Feringa scored five points and Jake Herrera scored four of his 10 points during that spurt. All of Ridge's points in the opening half came from either inside the paint or from the foul line. After Hillside closed to within 16-10, Ridge ran off another 14 consecutive points.
Feringa and Jeremy McCavera each scored on layups to start the run, then Chris Baurkot sank a pull-up jumper for a 22-10 lead. Baurkot provided a boost off the bench, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter as Ridge finished the half with a 34-16 lead.
Curtis Lyons finished with 12 points and four assists for Ridge and McCavera totaled eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
Ridge's lead grew to 46-18 in the third quarter, but Hillside put together a 17-2 rally to come within 13 points, 48-35, heading into the homestretch.
Ridge has won four of its last six games, but even with the Red Devils' improved play--especially at the offensive end--of late, it still may leave them just short of the power points to qualify for the state tournament in Section 2, Group 4, where they stood 17th and needed to surpass Perth Amboy to finish within the qualifying Top 16 in the section. Tomorrow (Feb. 5) is the cutoff for state tournament seedings.