CONCORD – The Hickory Ridge boys basketball team struggled to find rhythm in the first half, but it all came together in the third quarter in a 68-56 road win over Jay M. Robinson Thursday night.
After the non-conference victory, Hickory Ridge moved its record to 2-0 on the season, while Jay M. Robinson dropped its season-opening game.
The Ragin’ Bulls had nine turnovers in the first quarter and let the Bulldogs get into the double bonus near the start of the second quarter.
“Robinson does a good job of uglying it up sometimes,” said Hickory Ridge coach Robert Machado. “They speed you up and do things you don’t want to do. Our guys kept making the pass they shouldn’t, and we took some bad shots.”
The Bulldogs had five steals in the first half, and senior newcomer Josh Abee (formerly of Northwest Cabarrus) led the team with 12 first-half points, hitting two 3-pointers.
Tied at 23, things finally clicked for the Ragin’ Bulls. After missing a 3-pointer, Jordan Marsh ran back on defense and blocked a shot. On the offensive side, he snagged a rebound, got the put-back layup and ran back on defense for another block that produced two points in transition.
That little spark of defense really carried over into the third quarter. The Ragin’ Bulls outscored the Bulldogs, 24-5, blocking one shot, creating four turnovers and forcing tough shots. They held Jay M. Robinson to 1-for-6 shooting from on 3-pointers in that quarter.
“It was basically because we stopped giving up the lane,” Machado said. “We stopped the lane. We made them shoot over us. We’re long in almost every position, so it’s tough to shoot over us when we stop bailing people out.”
The Ragin’ Bulls ended the quarter on a 15-1 run to push the score from 38-29 to 55-30, highlighted by seven points from Caleb Foster.
Marsh paced the team with 19 points, adding two blocks and three steals. Most of Marsh’s damage was done in the second quarter, when he scored 10 points. Foster was right behind with 18 points, and Shane Fernald (formerly of Mount Pleasant) added 12 points.
For Jay M. Robinson, Abee led the team with 18 points, followed by Justin Boateng with 14 points.
Hickory Ridge 13 18 24 13 -- 68
Jay M. Robinson 10 15 5 26 -- 56
HICKORY RIDGE – Jordan Marsh 19, Caleb Foster 18, Shane Fernald 12, Luke Widmar 8, Tucker Johnson 4, Lubamba 3, Thompson 2, Greene 2
JAY M. ROBINSON -- Josh Abee 18, Justin Boateng 14, Charles Reed Jr. 11, Chambers 8, Robinson 3, Dameron 2