Technical Knockout: Ridge Tops Haines City in Thriller, 72-68
Sat. December 29, 2012 at 2:00 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Ridge Community's JaDe'Rian Johnson goes up for a basket as Haines City's Akeem Martinez applies some pressure. (Photo by RICK RUNION | THE LEDGER)
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
DAVENPORT | Rule No.1: Never taunt at a rumble. Or at least don't let anyone hear it.
In a strange twist of events, Haines City senior forward Osney Vital was hit with a technical foul seconds after canning two dramatic free throws that tied Ridge Community 65-65 with 1:13 remaining in the game on Friday at Ridge Community High School.
Luis Zayas hit both technical-foul shots and the Bolts went on to a wild 72-68 win and a berth in the third annual Rumble on the Ridge championship game at 7:45 p.m. against Gibbs High School.
"To be honest I didn't even see the tech," Ridge Community head coach Don Skipper said. "I was trying to think about what we were going to talk about. He (the referee) said he was taunting one of my players so they stuck him with a tech."
Vital fouled out of the game on the play after leading the Hornets back from a 13-point deficit midway though the third quarter. He led all scorers with 21 points.
"I don't even know what happened. I just think it was a terrible call with the game tied," Haines City head coach Greg Pritchett said. "I didn't see what happened. I didn't see nothing and I didn't hear nothing."
Ridge shot out to a 10-point lead just six minutes into the game and was able to rebuild it before halftime entering the locker room leading 35-25.
JaDe'Rian Johnson led Ridge with 13 points. Kareem Smith added 12 and Zayas scored 11 for the Bolts.
"It's a rumble and anytime we play our cross-town rival Haines City it is going to be a battle to the end," said Skipper, whose Bolts won the tournament last year.
"You're expected to play well at home and you're expected to win your own tournament. I hate to be sitting down and watching somebody else take first place in my gym. We have an opportunity to defend the championship and that's what we want to do."
Both Winter Haven and Tenoroc had five players score in double figures but the Blue Devils held off the Titans 71-65 in the first game of the day. Chance McSpadden led Winter Haven with 15 points and Kendrick Holland added 14. Kavontis Moore led Tenoroc with 13.
Winter Haven will meet Clearwater Central Catholic today. Central Catholic was able to pull away from Hillsborough in the closing minute to win 62-57.
Gibbs beat East River 71-55 to advance to the championship game.