It would be inaccurate to say the Orange-Cedar Ridge girls game was just as physical as the Army-Navy football game it coincided with on Saturday afternoon.
But only slightly inaccurate.
Players hit the floor with reckless abandon so often, one may have wondered if the officials would throw a flag for targeting. In the third quarter, Cedar Ridge’s leading scorer, Carrie Davis, had to go under concussion protocol following a midcourt collision for a loose ball.
In the end, Orange won 42-34 after holding the Red Wolves scoreless in the final 4:44. The Panthers (5-0, 1-0 in the Big 8) are off to their best start ever under head coach B.J. Condron, now in his fourth season.
Kaylen Campbell led Orange with ten points, while Lauren Cates and Icez Barnett added seven. Davis led Cedar Ridge (3-3, 0-1) with ten points.
Davis hit a three-pointer to give Cedar Ridge a 34-32 lead with 4:44 remaining, the seventh lead change of the second half. Barnett’s lay-up with 2:47 remaining put Orange ahead for good.
The two teams have now split the last six meetings.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a battle,” said Condron. “It’s like that anytime Orange and Cedar Ridge play. I think we managed the game well in the end by hitting free throws.”
Clinging to a 35-34 lead with 2:14 remaining, the Panthers went 7-of11 from the foul line down the stretch.
Free throws turned out to be Cedar Ridge’s undoing. The Red Wolves went 5-from-20 from the foul line.
“That was the difference in the game,” said Cedar Ridge Coach Felton Page. “You’re not going to win too many ballgames like that.”
Orange jumped out to a 12-4 lead after two early field goals from Bethlyn Early and a three-pointer from Campbell.
The lead would extend to 17-5 before Cedar Ridge mounted a charge. Guard Taylin Jean scored all five of her points during a 13-4 Red Wolves run to close out the second quarter, narrowing Orange’s lead to 21-18 at the half.
Cedar Ridge’s Jasmin Lee scored her only field goal of the day to give the Red Wolves it’s first lead of the day with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter, while Miracle Page knocked in a three-pointer in the waning second to put the Red Wolves ahead going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter had five lead changes and two ties. After Campbell started the stanza with a trey to put Orange ahead 30-28, Davis tied the game with a one-handed runner. Barnett and Cates had key steals during the Cedar Ridge dry spell that ended the game.
Orange’s Mia Davidson and Early finished with seven rebounds. Campbell and Barnett each had three steals.
Orange has three games this week. They face Southern Alamance at home on Tuesday at 5:30, followed by a road trip against East Chapel Hill on Wednesday, also at 5:30. They continue conference play with another home game against Northern Vance on Friday at 6.
Cedar Ridge hosts Northern Vance on Tuesday at 6, then travels to Southern Durham on Friday at 7.
ORANGE–Grace Dively 5, Kaylen Campbell 10, Icez Barnett 7, Lauren Cates 7, Mia Davidson 2, Bethlyn Early 6, Adalyn Fleming 2, Janea Myers 1, Mary Beth Dobbins 2.
CEDAR RIDGE–Yolanda Simpson 4, Miracle Page 6, Carrie Davis 10, Taylin Jean 5, Madison Wardlow 4, Natalia Garay 1, Jacori Walton 1, Jasmyn Lee 2, Abby Lloyd 1.