For the second time this month, Cedar Ridge has lost a home conference game at the buzzer.
The first time it was Northwood’s Abe Omar who scored on a stickback with :03 remaining on January 5th to seal the Chargers’ 83-82 overtime victory at CRHS. On Friday night, it was even more painful for the Red Wolves.
Elijah Haynes scored on a scoop shot with :01 remaining to give Chapel Hill a 55-53 victory over the Red Wolves on Saturday night at Red Wolves Gymnasium. Haynes, who didn’t start the game due to disciplinary reasons, finished with 16. Chapel Hill’s Kai White led all scorers with 19, while Ben Gaynes added 15.
Once again, it was underclassmen who paced Cedar Ridge. Sophomore Terrence Crawford scored 16 points, while freshmen Mekai Collins and B.J. Freeman each scored 13.
Chapel Hill (11-8, 7-1) will host Orange on Tuesday night in a meeting for first place in the Big 8 Conference. The Tigers are one game back of the Panthers.
The Red Wolves, trailing 45-28 with 7:32 remaining, made a furious rally to tie the game at 53-53. After Gaynes’ three-pointer with 5:23 remaining put Chapel Hill ahead 48-34, the Red Wolves went on a 10-0 run, punctuated by consecutive treys by Crawford.
Trailing 53-48, Cedar Ridge reeled off five consecutive points in the final minute to tie the game. Freeman hit two free throws, then drew a charge on Haynes on the subsequent Tiger possession. Crawford sank a three-pointer, his third of the fourth quarter, to even the game with :7.3 seconds remaining.
Coming off a win over J.F. Webb on Wednesday, the Red Wolves (7-12, 2-7) missed a chance to win consecutive conference games for the first time this season.
White started the third quarter with a personal 5-0 run, including a running one-handed to push Chapel Hill’s lead to 31-21 with 4:21 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Haynes closed the third quarter with back-to-back three pointers, then continued a running dialogue with the Cedar Ridge student section.
After Collins scored the game’s first five points, Chapel Hill reeled off 13 consecutive points. Kai White scored seven points in that span, and Haynes drained a 30-footer at the first quarter buzzer to send Chapel Hill to a 16-7 lead.
In the second quarter, CHHS extended its lead to 20-10 after Haynes and Cook scored consecutive field goals. Then the Red Wolves went on a 7-0 run behind a 3-pointer from Khalil Barnett and a lay-up from Collins. The Tigers followed with six straight, including a three pointer from White, to take a 26-19 advantage into the locker room.
Cedar Ridge will play three games in five days next week. They travel to Northwood on Tuesday, followed by a home game against Southern Durham on Wednesday and a road trip to J.F. Webb in Oxford on Saturday.
CHAPEL HILL 55, CEDAR RIDGE 53
CHAPEL HILL: Elijay Haynes 16, Ben Gaynes 15, Kai White 19, Andrew Cook 4, Darius Burnette 1.
CEDAR RIDGE: Dmonte Kinney 2, Khalil Barnett 7, Terrence Crawford 18, Mekai Collins 13, B.J. Freeman 13.