By Josh Michael - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- The Massanutten Colonels could not complete their comeback Saturday afternoon, coming up on the short end to Ridgeview Prep 60-56.
Massanutten trailed by eight points with 3:30 to go in the game, and twice got to within two points in the closing minutes, but timely free throw shooting by Ridgeview Prep prevented the Colonels from getting closer than that.
The Colonels were getting points from the entire team down the stretch as they were attempting to make their comeback, including a big 3-pointer from University of Hawaii commit Issac Fleming that cut the deficit to just two with 2:09 remaining. Dimitri Sousa followed a minute later as he crashed the board for a big rebound, made the putback and drained the free throw on the and-one, to once again bring the Colonels within two points, this time with just a minute left in the game.
Despite some poor free throw shooting early on, Ridgeview went a perfect 4-for-4 in the final minute of the game to secure the victory.
Ridgeview utilized some sound defense, along with some poor shooting from Massanutten to pull off a 14-2 run in the second half that gave them a 51-43 lead with 3:30 to go in the game. The Colonels struggled offensively for the majority of the second half, and had scored just 10 points the entire half with 3:30 to go.
"We just didn't make any shots, our last four games, for some reason, we just haven't played well," said Massanutten head coach Mel Abrams. "We're 1-3 in our last four games. We will try to figure it out, it's tough."
It was not just the Colonels who came out slow in the second half, as both teams struggled from the field early on in the final 20 minutes. Massanutten led 33-30 at the half, and with 10 minutes remaining in the game, the two teams had combined for just 15 total points thus far in the second half.
Massanutten had an easily visible advantage in size down low, and consistently tried to take advantage of that offensively, but the Colonels just could not get it going.
"I felt like we got the ball inside, we just didn't convert," said Abrams when asked about the size advantage.
Early on in the game it did not appear as if Massanutten would need to make any type of comeback later on as they stormed on a 10-0 run midway through the first half to give themselves an eight-point lead, but Ridgeview chipped away as the first half went on and cut the deficit to three at the half.
The Colonels did spread the ball around offensively as three players were in double figures, and four players had five or more points in the first half. Elijah De'Shar Wilson-Thomas led the Colonels with 13 points, while Fleming chipped in 12 and Raquan Brown-Johnson added 10.