TREDYFFRIN >> For its senior night Friday evening, the Conestoga boys basketball squad set itself up for a tough test against a red-hot, athletic Ridley team on a seven-game winning streak.
The Green Raiders held the lead for the first 26 minutes, but the Pioneers (13-7, 11-3) finally caught up in the fourth quarter. The game went two overtimes before Conestoga prevailed, 60-59.
The double-overtime battle featured rugged, physical defensive play on both sides. It wasn’t pretty but it was spirited.
“I thought we played with a ton of heart tonight,” said Conestoga head coach Mike Troy. “It was a back-and-forth battle all night, and we kept coming back, and coming back, and in overtime I thought we played as hard as we did all year long.”
“When the final buzzer sounded, I felt relieved,” said Conestoga senior Zach Lezanic, who tallied 19 points. “We knew we couldn’t take Ridley lightly. When it’s into the second overtime, and you’re fighting for a Central League playoff spot, you don’t think about fatigue; I felt like I could have played another overtime (smiles).”
Ridley (11-6, 6-6) came out smoking after the game’s opening tip-off, jumping out to a 7-2 lead, thanks to the inside scoring of senior forward Meese Tobey and junior center Enoch Clark. Clark provided a strong presence for the Green Raiders throughout the night, and finished with 25 points.
“Clark’s really been coming on for us the second half of the season,” said Ridley head coach Kevin Kelly.
Ridley maintained control, and a small lead, the entire first half. At halftime, the Green Raiders led 23-19 with Clark and senior guard Malachi Williams providing 17 points. The Green Raiders also were getting solid rebounding in the first half.
“I thought we could have rebounded a little better — Ridley’s an athletic team that really gets to the boards,” said Troy. “But, hey, it was senior night, the kids were really excited, and the whole team wanted nothing more than to give the eight seniors — nine seniors with our manager — a win to remember. I thought we were a little overly hyped-up at the beginning of the game.”
Lezanic said, “I think there was extra adrenaline for us tonight, playing on senior night — I think we played into the crowd a few times.”
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