Patriot boys surge past Swamp Foxes
The Patriots started a little slow, but surged in the second half to avenge an earlier loss to the Swamp Foxes.
The Fort Dorchester boys earned a 62-56 win at Ashley Ridge Tuesday to improve to 12-8 on the season with a 4-3 mark in Region 8-AAAA. Ashley Ridge, which defeated the Patriots 49-48 at the Fort earlier this month, dropped to 12-8 with a 3-4 mark in the region.
“We played with more defensive intensity tonight and did a better job with shot selection,” Patriot guard Eric Heyward said.
Heyward paced the Fort, scoring a game-high 27 points and making major contributions defensively. Senior post player Baptiste Staggers scored 13 points for the Patriots and was a force inside on both sides of the court.
Point guard D.J. Stevens led the Swamp Foxes and finished with 17 points. Vernon Moree and Fred Weeks both added 15 points for Ashley Ridge.
However, the Patriots limited Ashley Ridge’s top gun, Romelo Doctor, to only seven points. The Swamp Foxes also played Stevens tight in the second half to limit him to seven points in the final two periods.
“Eric had a handful in taking on Doctor and he stepped up to that challenge,” Fort coach Leon Wheaton said. “Ashley Ridge had a strong start and their point guard was hurting us, but we challenged him in the second half. After earning a starting spot with his performance in Beaufort, Ronald Johnson stepped up again tonight. It feels like everything is really starting to kick in for us. Our energy level is high and everyone is starting to understand the concepts we’ve been teaching all along. They have all sold out when it comes to pressuring the ball and playing for each other.”
Ashley Ridge received three-point baskets from Stevens and Weeks as they pulled out to a 15-12 lead in the first period. The Swamp Foxes had the chance to really seize momentum when they went up by seven points in the final 30 seconds of the second period, but didn’t capitalize.
Heyward hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 5 and Fort Dorchester forced a turnover. Shortly after, the Patriots sent an inbound pass to Wayne Chisolm and he hit a 3 with only two seconds on the clock to cut the Swamp Foxes’ lead to 27-25 at the half.
The Fort then outscored Ashley Ridge 20-13 in the third period. Heyward hit two 3s in the period and Chisolm hit another. The Patriots also had big shots from Staggers and Demitri Carter as they carried a 45-40 lead into the final period.
The teams combined for 33 points in the fourth. Ashley Ridge cut the lead to 4 and had a couple of chances to pull closer in the final 30 seconds, but couldn’t. Staggers made a big rebound inside the 10-second mark and was fouled. His free throw with 6.7 seconds remaining pretty much iced the game for the Pats.
Wheaton is optimistic his team can build on the momentum from the victory and make some noise with the playoffs just around the corner.
“We have played our best basketball these past three games,” Wheaton said. “We are rotating out better with our defense. If we can keep playing like this and getting a little smarter as we go I think we will make a good push.”
Fort Dorchester hosts Colleton County Feb. 1 while Ashley Ridge hosts Beaufort.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or email@example.com