By Jonathan Cardona, High School Sports Editor
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Saturday, March 3, 2018, The Ridge View Blazers beat the Wilson High School Tigers, 74-70, In Colonial Life Arena for the South Carolina Class 4-A State Championship. This is the Blazers’ first state championship in two appearances.
In the 2018 South Carolina High School League Boys Basketball State Championship playoffs, Ridge View came in with high expectations, finishing off the regular season on a five-game winning streak. The Blazers were playing their best basketball of the year, and seemed poised for a deep tournament run.
Ridge View faced off against the Midland Valley Mustangs at home in the first round. Ridge View showed no mercy against a lower ranked Midland Valley, blowing out the Mustangs 72-38 on their way to the second round.
Their next game was scheduled at home against the Eastside High School Eagles from Taylors, South Carolina. With home court advantage, the Blazers were confident and brought down the Eagles, 63-45, heading into the third round.
In the third round of the playoffs, Ridge View traveled to Aiken High School. With the team keeping their eyes on the prize, settling for nothing less than a state title run, they fought hard and came out with a big win, 77-61.
Ridge View went up against South Aiken High School in the third round. The Blazers took an early lead in the first half. Late in the fourth quarter, the Blazers gave South Aiken no chance of a comeback. The Blazers took the win by a comfortable 60-47 margin.
In the final game, Ridge View faced off against the Wilson High School Tigers for the 4-AAAA Boys Basketball State Championship game at Colonial Life Arena. Going into halftime the Wilson Tigers lead 36-32.
The halftime deficit gave the Blazers a wake up call, beginning the second half with a 12 – 6 run. The run lead the Blazersto a two-point lead at 44-42. With the game being neck to neck, Ridge View began a slight run to extend their lead, making it more difficult for the Tigers to come back.
Ridge View center Malcolm Wilson saved his biggest block of the season for last, with a huge rejection late in the fourth quarter that gave Ridge View the momentum they needed to close out the game with their lead. He then shot a dagger free-throw to finish the Tigers’ hopes, as the Blazers won a close one, 74-70, becoming state champions for the first time.
With only being head coach for two seasons, Head Coach Yerrick Stoneman said, “This is a huge accomplishment for the team, but it’s not just me it’s about all of the people who are involved from coaches to players. ”
Crosby Harris-James finished the game with a team-high of 20 points. Walyn Napper finished with 17, and Javon Anderson and Malcolm Wilson chipped in with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
With a majority of the players returning for next season, Coach Stoneman wants his players to continue to work hard to achieve another state championship next season.