BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Senior forward Max Mahoney put his stamp on a distinguished career, but the Ridge boys basketball team succumbed to a team with more size and speed Thursday night.
With plenty of big bodies, a lot of quickness and a disruptive defense, East Orange defeated Ridge, 65-58, in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 tournament.
Mahoney, who will play basketball at Boston University next year, finished with 30 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and two assists in a tour de force performance to close out his career at Ridge. But during a key stretch in the second quarter after Mahoney picked up his second foul but remained in the game, East Orange (17-8) was able to take the ball inside the paint or go at Mahoney along the baseline, knowing the Red Devils' post defender could not afford to get whistled for foul No. 3 before halftime.
East Orange scored the last seven points of the first half to take a 24-18 lead, after Ridge (17-8) finished a disjointed first quarter plagued by fouls and mutiple turnovers by both teams with a 10-7 lead.
Ridge began the third quarter with a 3-pointer by Mike Harris to close within 24-21, but East Orange followed with an 11-3 spurt to take a 35-24 lead. Arthur Mitchell scored nine of his 11 points for East Orange in the third quarter. Marquise Kindel led East Orange with 17 points.
East Orange built a lead as large as 18 points midway through the fourth quarter before Ridge chipped away and got as close as six, 57-51, after Mahoney's third dunk of the game with 1:37 left.
But East Orange's combination of size and defensive quickness posed a challenge to Ridge's usual crisp, decisive ball movement, and while Mahoney did yeoman's work battling for opportunities among East Orange's big men, Ridge spent much of the game spotting up and shooting threes.
The Red Devils finished 9-for-30 from 3-point range, with Danny Doolan, who had 14 points, drilling four of 10 shots from beyond the arc.