BASKING RIDGE, NJ - For much of the season, a young Ridge girls basketball team would play competitively but falter in the closing minutes. On Tuesday night, the Red Devils turned in a cohesive effort and raised the level of their game down the stretch.
The result was a 60-52 Ridge victory over district rival Bernards in the first round of the Somerset County Tournament.
Sophomore guard Kristin Miscia scored 12 of her 16 points and senior forward Chrissy Weyrauch netted five of her 15 points in the fourth quarter, when eighth-seeded Ridge extended its narrow advantage to defeat Bernards, the ninth seed.
Senior forward Maddie Fairhurst led Bernards with 21 points and Caroline Baratta finished with 16 points in the loss.
Ridge played the entire fourth quarter with Bernards in the bonus after the Red Devils were whistled for eight fouls in the third quarter. But Ridge played a circumspect game on defense in the final quarter and avoided the potential danger of having Bernards spend the entire final quarter on the foul line.
"Our number one concern in the fourth quarter was the number of fouls we had," said Weyrauch, who led Ridge with 10 rebounds and also contributed two assists and two blocks. "Coach (Eric Schroeder) said we can't have chippy little fouls and we had to play composed."
Exemplifying that composure, Miscia knocked down three baseline jumpers, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter. And, with Bernards within three points at 51-48 with three minutes left, Weyrauch shouldered a huge load and sank a couple of critical shots. She buried a 12-foot jumper in the lane with 2:40 left for a 53-48 lead, then dropped in a 15-footer with 1:58 to go to extend Ridge's lead to seven, 55-48.
"We're a young team with a lot (four) of sophomores," said Weyrauch, who was playing despite the effects of a cough and cold she's had for several days. "It's been a learning experience for them, but with each game, they're getting more experience in these end-game situations."
Junior forward Abby Ursino finished with 11 points and senior guard Sarah Korn scored eight points for Ridge.