A 3-pointer from Cayden McConley just 50 seconds into the game gave the Trojans (7-2, 1-0) a lead they never lost the in taking a 71-57 victory over the Ridgeview Wolfpack (4-1, 0-1) in the district opener for both teams.
Battle led 6-5 with 4:30 left to play in first quarter. The Trojans used a 15-6 run over the rest of the opening period to build a 21-11 lead.
Powered by the shooting of Reed Samuel, Cayden McConley and Isaac Deel, John Battle outscored the Wolfpack 19-12 in the second quarter to increase its lead to 40-23 by halftime.
“I was happy with the first-half effort. Then in the third quarter we came out just trading baskets for a while,” said John Battle coach Jon Odum. “They were a little more energized than we were, but we finished the way we wanted to.”
WOLFPACK BITES INTO LEAD
In the third quarter, Ridgeview’s Gabe Counts hit three of his four 3-point shots to lead the Wolfpack scoring in the period.
Counts finished with a game-high 27 points and helped Ridgeview cut Battle’s lead to 51-43 with 2:17 left in the third quarter.
“We got it to an eight-point game going into the fourth, and I felt pretty good about that,” said Ridgeview coach Evan McCowan. “Reed and McConley both are really good ball players. Every time we got close, they hit a shot or two here and there and we missed a shot or two. In basketball, three possessions make a game. And I felt like in the third and fourth quarters there were about three possessions where our offense and defense kind of hurt us.”
Battle used a 10-2 run to open the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.
Samuel finished with 20 points for Battle, while McConley added 16 and Deel poured in 15.
John Battle is off until it hosts Wise Central on Jan. 2 in a key Mountain 7 District game.
Ridgeview is at home against Lebanon on Thursday before playing next week in the post-Christmas Grand Home Furnishings Holiday Classic at the Virginia-Wise Prior Center.
RIDGEVIEW ROLLS IN GIRLS GAME
In Wednesday’s girls’ game, Ridgeview (6-0, 1-0) jumped ahead 20-4 in the first quarter and never stumbled on the way to a 68-24 Mountain 7 District win.
Brooklyn Frazier led Ridgeview in the scoring department with 19 points, while Nikole Counts added 11.
Bethany Smith led John Battle (2-6, 0-1) with six points.
The John Battle girls travel to Norton Friday to take on J.I. Burton in a nondistrict contest, while Ridgeview begins play in a three-day tournament in Pigeon Forge on Thursday against Morristown East.