Mavs hold off rival Warriors in 'dogfight'
In what was described as a “dogfight” between two rival schools, the Marvin Ridge High boys basketball team fought off Weddington for a 53-51 road win on Friday.
“Every time we play Weddington it’s always a dogfight,” senior wingd Taylor Neal said. “It’s bucket-for-bucket and whoever works the hardest comes out with the win. I felt like we played harder – we played better as a team and we made more happen.”
Neal scored 15 points for the Mavericks, while junior forward John Emezie led all scorers with 20 points and added 11 rebounds and four assists.
Emezie sealed the win for Marvin Ridge with two clutch free throws with 12 seconds remaining that made it a two-possession game.
The first half started off slow offensively for both teams. Each held and lost leads at several points during the half. With the final seconds of the second quarter winding down, it was Emezie who took his man off the dribble and drained a jump shot from the free throw line just before time expired – putting the Mavs up 23-19.
The third quarter belonged to the Warriors.
Weddington junior swingman Brandon Watts, who scored a team-high 16 points while recording six rebounds, started the third quarter off with a baseline layup. Again, both teams battled back and forth exchanging buckets. When sophomore guard Jordan Barber sliced through the teeth of the MR defense for a layup with two seconds remaining in the third quarter, it put the Warriors up 40-38.
“Usually whenever we come out to Weddington, no matter our record, no matter what talent is on our team, it’s always close,” Emezie said.
The Warriors couldn’t extend their lead early in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over three times, and Neal dropped a reverse layup to tie the game at 40-all.
The Mavs went ahead 45-40 before Watts created a three-point play on an and-1 drive following his own missed 3-point attempt – and that play was followed by a steal on the MR inbounds and a Jordan Barber layup.
The Warriors went ahead 47-45 when Chris Trevisan scored inside with 4:54 remaining.
The Warriors had the lead on their home floor, but MR regained the momentum when senior Logan Jackson took his defender off the dribble and scored on a pull-up jumper just inside the three-point line – tying the game at 47-all.
At the 3:28 mark, Jackson again pulled up for a jump shot, this time giving the Mavs a two-point edge.
The Warriors called a timeout trailing 51-48 with 23.3 seconds remaining and Barber had a clean look at a 3-pointer but couldn’t knock it down. There was a tie-up for the rebound and a jump ball was called with the possession arrow going to MR.
Earlier in the quarter, a jump ball was overturned when officials determined Emezie (who was tied up) called a timeout before the jump-ball call could be made. If not for the awareness to get the timeout, the Warriors would have had an extra possession at the end of the game.
“I was going to set up for a three [before the timeout earlier] but my man was stepping out on me,” Emezie said. “So I was stepping to go to the basket but there was a wet spot so I slipped. I knew I wasn’t going to try and pass it and force and they could’ve gotten a steal off of it, so I put it in between my legs so he couldn’t steal it and I called a timeout.”
Emezie's more noticeable contribution to the victory came after he was fouled on the following inbounds play and made both attempts in a hostile environment.
Both Emezie and Neal were most satisfied with helping earn the win for junior varsity player Dane Hedrick, whose father recently passed away. The Marvin Ridge student section wore all black to show their respect.
“We told everyone to come support him,” Emezie said. “So I was glad that they came out for him, first off, so that’s what the blackout was for.”
“I’m just glad we packed the house for Dane’s dad tonight,” Neal added. “We know he’s watching out for us and I’m glad everybody came out to honor him.”
The Mavericks will host Sun Valley High on Friday, and the Warriors host Anson the same night.
Friday's late box scores
Marvin Ridge boys 53, Weddington 51
MR (8-6, 2-0 in SCC)
John Emezie 6 7-9 20, Taylor Neal 6 0-2 15, Logan Jackson 3 3-9 9, David Keley 3 1-2 7, Kris Watkins 1 0-0 2, Ross Corday 0 0-0 0, Zach Frye 0 0-0 0, Roen Ourant 0 0-0 0, Sam Vogt 0 0-0 0, Ben Williams 0 0-0 0.
WHS (8-7, 1-1)
Brandon Watts 6 2-5 16, Chris Trevisan 5 1-2 13, Jordan Barber 3 2-2 8, Jake Granger 2 0-0 5, Blake Waud 2 1-2 5, Mason Ospechuk 1 0-0 2, Jordan Sharpe 1 0-0 2, Demonta Oates 0 0-0 0.
Marvin Ridge^12^11^15^15 — 53
Weddington^11^8^21^11 — 51
3-pointers: MR – 4 (Neal 3, Emezie 1) WHS – 5 (Trevisan 2, Watts 2, Granger 1); Rebounds: MR – 33 (Emezie 11, Kelcy 5) WHS – 38 (Ospechuk 11, Watts 6, Waud 6).
Weddington girls 45, Marvin Ridge 29WHS (12-3, 2-0)
Stephanie Watts 7 5-6 21, Bailee Carter 3 5-9 11, Jada Craig 3 3-4 9, Olivia Jenkins 2 0-2 4, Kelsie Croal 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Davis 0 0-0 0, Molly Mann 0 0-0 0, Sarah McKain 0 0-0 0, Emily Schill 0 0-0 0, Jillian Turpin 0 0-0 0, Melanie Wierzbicki 0 0-0 0.
MR (5-9, 0-2)
Jamie Ellis: 4 1-1 9, Melissa Blatnik 4 0-0 8, Juliana Bass 2 0-0 4, Lyndsey McLain 1 1-2 3, Melissa Sepulveda 1 0-0 3, Ariel Griffin 1 0-0 2, Alyssa Horan 0 0-0 0, Dharma Rosbrugh 0 0-0 0.
Marvin Ridge^5^4^11^9 — 29
Weddington^8^15^8^13 — 45
3-pointers: WHS – 2 (Watts 2) MR – 1 (Sepulveda 1); Rebounds: WHS – 28 (Watts 16, Jenkins 4) MR -- 24 (Bass 5, Ellis 5, Griffin 5).