NORTH AUGUSTA — For one night, Ridge View didn’t need a great halfcourt offense to take a title.
Using defensive pressure, the Blazers rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half and then closed strongly to beat North Augusta, 59-53, Friday night and win the Southern Home Classic portion of the BI-LO Holiday Classic at Riverview Park Activities Center.
The Blazers, who went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter, beat the Yellow Jackets by 11 points last season.
“Our team is completely different (than last year’s),” Ridge View coach John Combs said.
“But I’m proud with how they battled.”
With the game tied at 51 with 1:55 to go, the Blazers (8-6) scored eight of the last 10 points in the game as Trevon Howell’s three-point play gave his team the lead for good.
Later, the Yellow Jackets committed a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball and missed a 3-pointer to help Ridge View pull away.
The story was a little different in the second quarter, as North Augusta (8-4) led 21-11 before Ridge View closed in a flurry.
Several steals late in the period allowed the Blazers to go on a 17-0 run to take a 28-21 lead.
The Yellow Jackets not only struggled to make shots, but they had difficulities getting attempts, with Ridge View getting steals before North Augusta could cross midcourt.
Forrest Fulmore scored six points in the run, including a field goal on a 4-on-1 break and a steal on an inbounds pass.
Seth Coleman, who had a game-high 22 points, punctuated the huge stretch with a slam immediately after another North Augusta turnover turned into a chance.
The Yellow Jackets closed the gap in the final moments of the second quarter, with T.J. Sheppard’s second dunk of the night cutting the Blazers’ lead to 28-25 at halftime.
Sheppard’s 11 points were a team high for North Augusta.
The Yellow Jackets had four players score at least eight points before it faltered in the final moments.
“We need to go back and work on our press offense,” North Augusta coach Al Young said. “We have to spend more time there.”