On a night where points were at a premium, the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves turned to its most steady hand for its first conference win in nearly one year.
Colton Taylor took a pass from Jonovan Wingate, drove past a defender set up for a charge along the right block for a lay-in with 44 seconds remaining to put Cedar Ridge into the lead against Western Alamance 40-39. Sophomore Harrison Perel added two late free throws and the Red Wolves (5-8, 1-4 in the Central Carolina Conference) emerged with a 42-39 win on Tuesday night at Red Wolves Arena.
The victory ended Cedar Ridge’s nine-game Central Carolina Conference losing streak. The Red Wolves’ last CCC win also came against Western Alamance on February 4, 2022 in Hillsborough.
Brooks Allred led the Warriors (1-14, 0-4) with ten points.
Western Alamance led 22-11 in the second quarter after a jumper by Kris Barnwell. The Red Wolves didn’t score in the opening 5:03 of the second quarter. Taylor ended the drought with a lay-in while being fouled by Wyatt Lee. Taylor scored seven straight points for Cedar Ridge during the first half before Sophomore Harrison Perel sank a 3-pointer to reduce the Warriors’ lead to 24-19.
“We were lacking energy in the first half,” said Cedar Ridge coach Mike Jones, who earned his first conference win as the head coach of the Red Wolves. “I think we looked at this team’s record and took them softly. Once we started playing like ourselves, we looked a lot better.”
In the second half, Western Alamance only scored four field goals. Trailing 26-20 at halftime, Cedar Ridge center Hayden Kirk tied the game at 32-32 with two free throws with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Taylor put Cedar Ridge in the lead at 37-36 with a coast-to-coast lay-in with 5:14 remaining. John Long, a backup guard who played nearly the entire second half, put the Warriors ahead with two free throws. Long finished with eight points.
“We defended well in the second half,” Jones said. “We’re playing really hard right now. I’m proud of my guys. We’re getting better.”
Taylor, who had a career-high 31 points against Eastern Alamance on Friday night, tied the game with a free throw. Tied 38-38, Kris Barnwell drew an offensive foul on Taylor. which led to Allred getting fouled by Perel. Allred split two free throws to give the Warriors a 39-38 lead.
After Taylor’s go-ahead lay-in, Joey Peterson missed a baseline jumper and the rebound was knocked out of bounds by the Warriors. Perel was fouled and sank two pressure free throws to expand the Red Wolves’ lead. Barnwell missed an attempt to tie the game late.
Western Alamance’s Elijah Wade scored nine points in the first quarter, but curiously didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“It didn’t even look like Colton had 24 points,” Jones said. “I’m telling you, Colton plays so hard. It’s definitely a confidence boost to win this game. Our goal right now is to make the state playoffs. That’s our goal. That was a big step in that direction tonight.”
The Red Wolves will return home to face Walter Williams on Friday night in Hillsborough.
Women’s Basketball: Western Alamance 61, Cedar Ridge 34
The surprising start of the Western Alamance women’s basketball team continued on Tuesday night. The Warriors, who finished 8-12 last year, defeated Cedar Ridge to improve to 13-2, 3-1 in the CCC.
Tina Bowers led the Warriors with 19 points. Amiyah Ware, the Cedar Ridge junior who set the school record with 37 points against Eastern Alamance on Friday night, scored 20 against the Warriors.
The Red Wolves trailed by only two points late in the first half, but things quickly crumbled after Ware picked up her third foul late in the second quarter. The Warriors, ranked #2 in the 3A East Region by MaxPreps, got 18 points from Emma Johnson and 13 points from Cayden White.
Cedar Ridge (2-11, 1-4) will host Williams on Friday night at 6PM in Hillsborough.
The Cedar Ridge Red Wolves turned to a reliable presence for its first conference win of the season. With Western Alamance leading 39-38, Colton Taylor took a pass from Jonovan Wingate and scored on a lay-in with 44 seconds remaining. Sophomore Harrison Perel would sink two free throws with 20.2 seconds remaining to preserve a 42-39 victory for Cedar Ridge. The victory ended Cedar Ridge’s 9-game conference losing streak. It was the Red Wolves first Central Carolina Conference win since they defeated Western Alamance last February in Hillsborough. Taylor, who scored 31 points against Eastern Alamance last Friday, finished with a game-high 24 points. Landon Dalehite had an early 3-pointer for the Red Wolves and provided key defense in the absence of forward Luke Orstad, who was out because of injury. Cedar Ridge held the Warriors to only one field goal in the fourth quarter. Cedar Ridge is now 5-8 on the season. They will host Walter Williams on Friday night in Hillsborough. The doubleheader will begin with the women’s game at 6PM with the men’s game to follow.