NORTH AUGUSTA — The steals came from seemingly everywhere; from near half court to around the rim.
The Ridge View girls basketball team often forced turnovers in succession and dominated the offensive glass to beat North Augusta, 59-34, and claim the championship of the BI-LO Holiday Classic Friday night at the Riverview Park Activities Center.
Guard Nikia Squire was the catalyst of the 24-point third quarter, getting a string of steals that led to scores.
“I hide and make sure they don’t see me,” Squire said.
After leading by seven points at the half, the Lady Blazers made the lead more secure in the third quarter, with Squire scoring 10 of her 18 points in the period.
The advantage grew to 51-29 as the quarter ended, with Squire tallying another steal in the final moments, getting the ball near midcourt before coasting for the layup.
“If I play to my best ability, I feel the team will do the same,” she said.
Alexus Jackson led all scorers with 22 points, posting 13 points in the final two quarters.
Besides grabbing multiple offensive rebounds, she also stretched the defense with jumpers and a 3-pointer.
“I just try to box out and get everyone out of my way,” Jackson said.
Though North Augusta also trailed in the first half, it was close for most of the 16 minutes.
The Lady Jackets were down six points early before using transition chances to tie the score at 12.
Teanda Cunningham and her teammates had some success breaking the pressure during the small rally, as she got free for an easy score. Cunningham had a North Augusta-best 12 points.
Three players had at least eight points in the opening half for Ridge View, with Jackson’s nine leading all players.
As the second period neared its conclusion, Jackson twice stole the ball underneath North Augusta’s hoop, succeeding both times in finishing.
The steals then came in larger bunches in the third quarter as Ridge View won easily.
“We had to play better defense and go after the ball and score,” Jackson said.