By Thomas Grant Jr.

Having defeated A.C. Flora twice during the regular season, the odds seemingly favored Ridge View entering the third meeting last Wednesday between the two Region 4-5A rivals.

Instead, it was the Lady Falcons who played like the region champion. Led by Terriana Gray’s 13 points, they ended the Lady Blazers’ state title hopes with a 47-42 victory.

In denying Ridge View its first-ever championship game, the Lady Falcons earned that distinction for themselves Saturday against Riverside.

Gray got the Lady Falcons off to an 11-6 lead. Destiny Drakeford kept Ridge View close with eight of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter.

After closing the first quarter with a 6-0 run, the Blazers opened the second with an 8-0 run to take a 19-14 lead. Gray stopped the run with a 3-point play and Jasmine-McDonald Craft scored four of A.C. Flora’s last five points to end the first half with a 22-21 lead.

McDonald-Craft finished with nine points for the Lady Falcons.

Skylar McCrary opened the second half with one of A.C. Flora’s four 3-pointers in the third quarter. She scored all eight of her points in the third quarter as A.C. Flora stretched its lead to as many as eight points.

Ridge View rallied in the second half with both Sian Banks and Janiya Carter each contributing six points.  The Lady Blazers got within a basket but missed potential go-ahead and game-tying shots in the final minutes.