BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- Running its fast break with frequency and efficiency, and getting everybody involved in the offense, the Ridge girls basketball team used a productive first quarter as a springboard to a 59-44 victory over North Hunterdon Tuesday night.
Senior guard Taylor Smith scored 23 points for the Red Devils (8-2), who scored in transition and hurt North Hunterdon with their dribble-penetration in building a 22-13 lead after one quarter. Six different Ridge players scored in the opening quarter.
With the score 16-13, Ridge scored the last six points of the quarter on driving baskets by Lauren Feldman and Smith and a layup by Carly Cambria on an entry pass from Ava Haiback.
The visiting Lions (5-5) knocked a point off the Ridge lead by halftime and then closed to within six, 31-25, after scoring the first basket of the third quarter. That's when the Red Devils put the game away.
Smith started the decisive run with a jumper. Sophie Beneventine then pulled up and sank a jumper on the break. Smith also pulled up for a transition jumper to extend the Ridge lead to 37-25. Lauren Lusardi sank a pair of foul shots, then Delaney Donohoe executed a clinically perfect drop-step move for a layup off a pass from Beneventine. When Smith took a Beneventine pass on the break and pulled up for a 3-pointer, Ridge had a 13-0 run to take a 44-25 lead.
Beneventine played her customary strong floor game when she was on the court, but the senior point guard was saddled with foul trouble, picking up two in the first half and two more in the third period. She finished with five assists to go with six points.
But there were plenty of other offensive contributions in support of Smith's big-time performance. Donohoe and Feldman each finished with eight points, Haiback and Lusardi each scored five, Cambria had a basket and Nancy Puthenpurayil came off the bench to provide some quality minutes and sink a jumper in the second quarter when Beneventine was on the bench in foul trouble.
Nikki Alexatos of North Hunterdon led all scorers with 24 points.
Ridge now heads into a long layoff. The Red Devils don't have another game until Monday afternoon, when they play at Phillipsburg.