By Thomas Grant Jr.

Jayden Pretty was selected as one of the top five seniors in Class 4A by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association.

Second-ranked Ridge View needed an All-State effort from its senior forward Friday night at number-one Westwood to keep alive any Region 5-4A title hopes.

Pretty’s play, particularly in the fourth quarter when he scored six of his 13 points, helped the Blazers take the 64-52 win over the RedHawks. The victory avenged the Jan. 26 home loss in the second “One versus Two” matchup between the two rivals.

The 12-point margin of victory also gave Ridge View the region tiebreaker over Westwood (18-2, 7-1), who won the first meeting 66-64. In addition, the loss snapped the RedHawks’ 13-game winning streak.

“We came back in here thinking like we’ve got to finish and win the game,” Pretty said. “Last game, it was just a lot of ups and downs. We beat ourselves, to be honest. But today, we came in here more motivated and locked in to win the game.”

Ridge View found himself in an early 7-2 hole to the equally motivated RedHawks. Senior guard T.J. Hall, whose inspired play carried Westwood to victory at the Blazers, once again led the way with a game-high 24 points.

A 7-0 run to close the first quarter put Ridge View up 12-11. There were nine more lead changes in the contest with the biggest lead held by either team beging six points until the fourth quarter.

Hall looked to keep Westwood ahead in the second quarter. He scored 10 points, including a breakaway slam dunk which brought the RedHawks fans among the sold-out 2,541 fans in attendance to their feet.

After a scoreless first quarter, senior guard Korie Colbert came to life. He scored five of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter to help Ridge View extend its lead to 33-29 at halftime.

The third quarter saw Dion Walters score four straight points to help Westwood reclaim the lead. Hall scored six points from the free throw line to help the RedHawks build a 45-41 lead.

A 3-pointer by Malachi Cooper just before the buzzer brought Ridge View to within a point.

The fourth quarter saw Corbett and Pretty take over the offense both from the field and the free-throw line. After missing 13 free throws in the first meeting, the duo combined for 6-9 in the fourth quarter.

Corbett’s eight points in the fourth quarter was a point more than Westwood. Ridge View outscored the RedHawks 20-7 in the final stanza and held them to one field goal over the final two minutes.

“We showed grit,” Ridge View head coach Joshua Staley said. “We showed that we could defend. We showed we can actually get some rebounds down the stretch. We showed a little bit more grit. We showed some toughness down the stretch and I’m proud of the guys.”

Ridge View is currently ranked eighth in the USA Today Super 25 rankings and 15th in 

Lady Blazers closing in on region title

Ridge View’s Simone Johnson with the putback.

The Ridge View girls’ basketball team also finds itself closing in on a region title.

The ranked Lady Blazers completed the season sweep of Westwood 49-39 to improve to 8-0 in Region 5-4A. Wins Tuesday at home against Richland Northeast and Friday to close the season Friday at A.C. Flora will clinch it.

Against Westwood, Ridge View erased a four-point deficit going into the fourth quarter by outscoring the Lady Redhawks 19-5. Lucia Bailey had 15 points and Simone Johnson added 10 to lead Ridge View.(16-8, 8-0).

Westwood used a 12-2 run to end the second quarter with a 24-21 lead. Guard Makiah Thompson scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the quarter, including her third 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer.

After Westwood extended their lead to 34-29 at the end of the third quarter, it managed just two field goals the rest of the game. 

Featured photo – Westwood’s T.J. Hall with the layup.