DOUBLING UP: Pungo cruises past Ridgecroft
Published 12:08 am Friday, January 8, 2016
BELHAVEN — Pungo doubled up Ridgecroft, 70-35, to improve to a perfect 5-0 in in NCISAA Tarheel Conference competition. It took some time in the first quarter for the Raiders’ offense to settle in, but they were efficient on attack once they did. The win was a confidence booster for just about every aspect of Pungo’s game: offense, defense and performance off the bench.
Their defense kept the visiting Rams at bay throughout the contest. Coach Jason Adams used 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone schemes, as well as man-to-man, to keep Ridgecroft from establishing any semblance of a rhythm.
“We fed off our defense and we were aggressive with our defense,” Adams said. “We shot a few 3’s too early and didn’t work our offense. Once we settled down and started to work it around a little bit, we started to settle in and find our rhythm a little bit. Plus, our press that we put in caused a few easy turnovers for some easy baskets.”
The Raiders seem most comfortable setting up their half-court offense, but have no qualms with quick baskets in transition. They didn’t stick to one mode of attack and it paid dividends.
“It’s important. There’s no doubt we like to get the easy baskets,” Adams said. “It’s important to be able to be patient against certain teams and work for a good shot. That’s what we’re trying to do: work to swing the ball, open up the defense in the zone and take advantage of it. And to make the other team work a little bit.”
Ridgecroft scored 15 of its 35 points in the second half when Pungo’s starters were on the bench resting. Getting a chance to give starters a break and get bench players extra minutes is hard to come by in the conference stretch of the season.
The contributions the Raiders got from the bench are important at this juncture. Extra depth is about as important as it gets in this point in the campaign.
“It’s big,” Adams said. “Logan (Van Staalduienn) got in foul trouble and we brought fellas off the bench. I was proud of the effort my six seniors gave. I think each one of those contributed tonight. Our bench players, we’ve got some good ones. They’re coming along. Noah (Cahoon) is coming along. He did some good things when Logan got in foul trouble.”
The two teams traded baskets to start off the game. Ridgecroft captain Nathan Askew got a layup to tie the game at 5-5 early on. The Raiders then finished the first quarter on a 10-0 run in which they got 6 points at the free-throw line.
The Rams scored just 9 points in the second period, including a 3-pointer from Askew. Landon Woolard pushed the tempo with three baskets in transition to help produce Pungo’s 35-14 halftime lead.
Will Respess scored 22 points and Woolard added another 14 in the win. Cahoon and Daniel Thomas dominated the glass, combining for 17 rebounds.
Even with the third-quarter scoring burst, it was too little too late for Ridgecroft. Pungo sealed the lopsided win with 21 points in the fourth period.
The Raiders’ aggression forced Ridgecroft into foul trouble. The home side found itself in the bonus with 1:41 left in the first quarter and again with 4:17 remaining in the fourth.
After traveling to Hobgood on Friday, Pungo now directs its attention toward a showdown with Terra Ceia. The Knights and Raiders are the conference’s undisputed top teams.