Ridge Spring-Monetta Lady Trojans surge past Wagener-Salley for tournament title
RS-M 42, WAGENER-SALLEY 30
BLACKVILLE — Things didn't start well for the Ridge Spring-Monetta girls' basketball team in the championship game of the Hawks Classic at Blackville-Hilda High School on Saturday, but the end result was a 42-30 victory over region foe Wagener-Salley.
Head coach Gail Moody-Johnson said the Lady Trojans (5-2) came into the game somewhat hesitant because of connections with the Lady War Eagles (8-4). Several of her players have relatives on the other team, and some of them play AAU ball together in the offseason, which can lead to a little too much familiarity.
“We did not show up the first half at all,” she said. “But we settled down in the second half.”
RS-M used a pressure defense throughout much of the game, but it didn't yield much fruit early as Wagener-Salley jumped out to a 6-2 lead. The Lady Trojans closed the gap a bit to end the first quarter trailing 8-7, but the Lady War Eagles found a way to stretch their lead back out to 18-13 at halftime.
From there, the tone of the game changed drastically, sparked by a charged halftime address by Moody-Johnson on the RS-M bench.
After the break, her team responded with a 19-6 third quarter that included an 8-0 run to help turn a five-point deficit into an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Wagener-Salley head coach Reginald Corley said the shift was a result of the Lady Trojans' shooters “getting hot,” among other things. Senior Ty'Quazja Tyler hit a pair of second-half 3-pointers as part of her 10-point effort.
“They adjusted, and we didn't,” Corley said.
Tyler's sister, Ty'Miyah, also came on strong in the second half. The junior scored a game-high 14 points, six of which came on a pair of traditional three-point plays, and she also scored several baskets as a result of turnovers created by the pressure defense.
“I don't care how much I get on her, she will still go after it and get it 100 percent,” Moody-Johnson said of the younger Tyler.
After the Lady War Eagles made the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four points at 32-28, the Lady Trojans finished out the game on a 10-2 run.
Even though the game won't count in the Region 4-A standings, it gave both teams a good measurement for where they stand heading into the bulk of region play in January.
For Wagener-Salley, Corley felt comfortable with his team's status despite the loss to cap the event that also included region foes Williston-Elko and host Blackville-Hilda.
“Well, we played good against everybody else in the tournament. ... We just had trouble with Ridge Spring,” he said. “I think we're going to be OK.”
Morgan Foster and Mya Landy led the Lady War Eagles with eight points each in the loss.
Ridge Spring-Monetta had even more reason to feel optimistic. On top of winning the tournament, Moody-Johnson felt the best is yet to come for a team that started the event less experienced than most squads because of cancellations early in the year by Batesburg-Leesville.
“We are coming together,” she said. “We've got a long way to go because we still really have not played that much.”
The Lady Trojans will next host Pelion on Friday, while Wagener-Salley will be on the road at Brookland-Cayce.
RSM 7 6 19 10 – 42
WS 8 10 6 6 – 30
Ridge Spring-Monetta (5-2) — Ty'Miyah Tyler 6 2-4 14, Amber Merritt 0 0-2 0, Raven Valentine 2 1-2 5, Crystal Preston 4 3-5 11, Tiffany Gomillion 1 0-0 2, Ty'Quazja Tyler 4 0-0 10. Totals 17 6-13 42.
3-pointers: Ty'Quazja Tyler 2.
Wagener-Salley (8-4) — Morgan Foster 4 0-0 8, Ta'Nauziah Corley 2 0-4 4, My'Ondrea Landey 3 0-4 6, Mya Landy 4 0-0 8, Tzaira Thompson 1 0-0 2, Morgan Gunter 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 0-8 30.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University. Follow him on Twitter @ASJTimm.