Green Ridge achieves rare win
By Kyle Smith Democrat Sports Editor
Something unusual happened Saturday at the Kaysinger Conference boys basketball tournament.
The fifth-seeded Green Ridge Tigers beat Cole Camp 52-43 in the second round of the tournament at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center. Green Ridge beat the Bluebirds for only the fourth time since 1975.
“It’s pretty special,” Green Ridge coach Jason Ollison said. “A lot of these guys’ dads played and didn’t beat them. … That just shows what kind of program Cole Camp has. They’re hard to beat every single year.”
The Tigers (11-10) will race top-seeded Sacred Heart in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Cole Camp (7-12) will face La Monte in a consolation game at 9 p.m. Monday.
The Tigers took advantage of two technical fouls by Tanner Oelrichs in the third quarter to turn a one-point lead into a nine-point advantage.
Hayden Doane’s driving layup began a 6-0 run. After Oelrichs was tossed from the game, Hunter Niceswander made one of two free throws, and Axton Harding, who led all scorers with 17 points, made three of his four foul shots to give Green Ridge a 35-28 lead. The Tigers had a chance to extend the lead because they maintained possession following Harding’s free throws. They failed to convert, but Doane, who finished with 11 points, made two free throws with 1:40 left in the third and then sank a shot for a 39-30 lead.
Alex Pritzel made a jumper before the buzzer sounded, slicing Green Ridge’s lead to 39-32.
The Bluebirds received six points from Koby Knievel, who shared team-high scoring honors with Oelrichs with 12 points, in the fourth quarter, but they came no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“When you’ve got guys you can just throw to and say get out of the way and go score, that’s pretty special,” Ollison said of Knievel and Oelrichs. “That’s why they’re a hard team to beat because when you’re shooting the ball from two feet every time, it makes it a lot easier than when you’re shooting from 20.”
Cole Camp led 12-10 after one quarter, but Conner Dillon made a pair of 3-pointers, and Harding scored six in the second to give the Tigers a 26-20 halftime lead.
“They did a lot of good things. I’ve got to give them credit,” Cole Camp coach Tom Ward said. “They attacked us. They won the hustle plays. They got to the free throw line.”
Ward had a long list of reasons why the Bluebirds lost the game.
“(I) didn’t think we shot the ball well tonight. We missed a lot of (easy shots),” Ward said. “(We) played a team a third time. You could tell that wanted a good piece of us.
“They beat us to some hustle plays. Losing Tyler (Ward) and Tanner didn’t help at all.” Tyler fouled out in the fourth quarter.
“We did some good things. You hold a team that scores a ton of points, and you keep them to 50, you’ve got to pretty much like your defense at some points,” coach Ward said.
The Tigers excelled at times inside.
“We want to shoot the ball as much as we can from the arc, and Tom knows that. We’ve been playing each other for 10 years now, and he knows that’s why I like to do,” Ollison said. “They were extending it out and giving us some driving lanes. When we could get to the rim, we did well.”
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