The current heavyweights of River Ridge District basketball locked horns Tuesday night in Southwest Roanoke County. Everyone in the standing-room-only Cave Spring gym was expecting a barnburner between the 8-1 Knights and the 8-1 visitors from Patrick Henry.
Everyone got just what they expected, plus a 4-minute bonus for extra measure.
Scoring the final 5 points of overtime, Patrick Henry overcame an early 3-point deficit in the extra session to pull out the 63-61 thriller that wasn’t settled until Cave Spring senior standout Stark Jones’ desperation heave from half court came up short at the buzzer.
Tied at 58 after regulation, Cave Spring senior and Fairleigh-Dickenson D-1 commit Dylan Saunders had put the Knights up 61-58 on his third three-pointer of the night to open the overtime scoring. Cave Spring, playing some tough defense, had the opportunity to expand its lead after PH misses, but untimely ball-handling turnovers and missed free throws kept the Patriots within striking distance.
That was just the opening senior Patriot point guard Sidney Webb needed, and his acrobatic moves to the basket down the stretch netted a pair of scores that put PH over the hump. Webb finished with 15 points for the game.
Both teams came out slugging and Cave Spring took the early advantage, leading 17-11 after the opening quarter. But, PH roared back in the second frame, combining tough play in the paint along with three bombs from behind-the-arc by junior forward Abubaki Yarmah to outscore the Knights 24-11 in the second stanza to take a 35-28 lead to the halftime break. Yarmah finished with a team-high 23 points for the Patriots. Brooks Derey poured in 12 for PH.
Cave Spring kept the pressure on and kept chipping away throughout the third quarter. Key was the inside rebounding by Saunders and junior Kam Tinsley, along with Saunders scoring in the paint. Saunders would finish with a game-high 25 points for Cave Spring. Tinsley added 13 points for the Knights, including a rare 4-point play off a bomb and harm. Jones added 9 points for Cave Spring, while Graham Lilley and Bays Bryant netted 8 and 6 points, respectfully.
Next up for PH will be a River Ridge matchup with Christiansburg on Friday, while Cave Spring travels to Salem on Friday followed by a date Saturday afternoon against the Spotswood Trailblazers in the Chance Harman Classic at Floyd County High School.