NEW PORT RICHEY — One quarter is what stood between River Ridge and winning its own tournament Tuesday.
The Royal Knights, who led at halftime, fell 49-44 to Palm Harbor University in the championship game of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Shootout.
The Hurricanes (3-1) held the home team to six points in the third quarter after making adjustments to contain Royal Knights star Leah Ford. The sophomore forward went to the locker room with 17 points, just as she did in the semifinal victory over Wharton.
“In the first half, we weren’t moving our feet,” Hurricanes coach Darian Dublin said. “A player like Leah will see that and always attack the basket. Once we started moving our feet and giving them a different look, we kept her frustrated.”
Ford finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocks, leading all tournament players in points, rebounds and blocks on her way to all-tournament team honors. She was proud of the progress River Ridge (3-2) made.
“In the preseason we lost to (PHU) by (20) so this was a big step for us,” Ford said. “We have a lot of girls who are capable of doing good stuff. By the end of the season, we’ll be even better.”
The Hurricanes were led by the sister tandem of Megan and Kaylin Ingram. Megan, a sophomore forward, went for a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaylin, a junior guard, played intense defense and contributed 17 points, including two 3-pointers, and five boards. The duo was named the tournament’s co-most valuable players.
“It was a physical game, and the (referees) let us play a little bit,” River Ridge coach Joeyn Dearsman said. “Once we saw that we were able to regroup, but it was difficult.”
Wharton (2-2) captured third place with a win over Lecanto (2-2) in the consolation final. Wildcats guard Kayla Clemons and Panthers guard Paige Richards rounded out the all-tournament team.