Mustangs fall short in super-sectional round

Mustangs fall short in super-sectional round

NORMAL — For the second consecutive year, Ridgeview's boys basketball team saw its season end one step short of a Final Four trip to Peoria.

Annawan handed the Mustangs a 39-32 defeat in Tuesday night's Class 1A Normal Super-Sectional, forcing Ridgeview into five turnovers and a 2-for-9 shooting slump in the final period to pull away.

The Braves held a 27-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Mustangs responded, however, as Justin Myers converted a jumper in transition before spinning an off-balance shot off the glass and Ridgeview led by two points with 6 minutes, 15 seconds remaining.

But Annawan scored 10 straight points over the next five-plus minutes, including a huge three-pointer by Jacob Wolf for a four-point edge with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left. On the Mustangs' next possession, Alex Tongate's corner three rimmed in-and-out, and the Braves sealed the win at the free-throw line.

"It was a struggle (in the fourth quarter). It's hard to make shots if you don't get shots. I thought we did our best to give us a chance, but when you don't make shots it's hard to keep up," Ridgeview coach Rodney Kellar said. "I thought the first to 50 (would win), and deep down I really thought it was going to be the first to 40."

It was a similar game to last year's 43-32 defensive battle won by Newark in which it forced the Mustangs into several uncharacteristic missed shots.

In this season's Elite Eight matchup, Ridgeview (27-5) finished 38.2 percent from the field, including 1 for 11 on three-pointers, while Annawan shot 36.8 percent.

Myers (20.7 points per game this year) finished with just eight points on 4 for 14 shooting, and Jacob Donaldson (18.2 ppg) scored 13 on a 4 for 9 performance.

"We missed some, and maybe that's the arena, but they missed some too — that's a part of it in a game of this magnitude. Shooting's at a premium," said Kellar, whose squad forced 13 turnovers but committed 12. "I think it was just two good defensive teams. Let's give credit where credit is due.

"It was two defensive teams. We battled, and I thought our zone did a good job against them. They did hit a couple threes, but we turned them over a bit. The turnovers down the stretch (were huge). No doubt. We shot ourselves in the foot, and execution was not as good as it was in the first half."