The JV boys basketball team traveled to Ridge High School Friday evening to play in the Somerset County Tournament final. In the end, the Panthers came up short, 47-34, in a battle of teams that both support and feed to varsity teams who enter the NJSIAA state tournament next week.
The game opened with Bridgewater taking the advantage. The Panthers were led by Dom Pace, scoring 10 points of the team's 12 for the opening quarter.
The second quarter went to Ridge, scoring 13 points, while tough defense allowed Bridgewater only five.
After the halftime break, the third quarter played out identical to the second.
In the closing quarter, both teams opened it up and played more intense and active on both ends of the floor.
Bridgewater was lead by Pace, who scored a game-high 14 points, while Mike Condo scored five of his seven points in the fourth. Joe Leotta scored six and Sean Lenahan added four.
But Ridge would not be denied. Ridge was led by Lane Legband who scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter. Eric Klasic's four fourth-quarter points gave him a team-high 13. Eric Scott scored finished with four points, as Hugh Morris head eight.
Bridgewater head coach Alex Mahoney was disappointed for his team.
"Ridge is a good team," he said. "They had our team's number as freshmen and sophomores and they got us three times this year."
Mahoney went on to compliment the Ridge program.
"This is what we aspire to," he said. "We want our guys to put in the time and dedication the Ridge guys do."
Bridgewater was 14-11 this season.
"I thought our team played really hard and so did they," Mahoney said. "They made a few extra shot that we didn't. I told the team I was very proud of them. I hope the experience lights a fire under them to take it into next year."
Ridge coaches Rocco Matriscianno and Jim Ayers felt their 22-4 season record came down to chemistry.
"Most of this team is sophomores and they have been together since they were in fourth grade," Matriscianno said. "They are all friends. It lets us hit the ground running and gave us an advantage over most of the other teams. We had talent at every position and someone to back them up."