NEW PORT RICHEY — Free-throw shooting has been Mitchell's Achilles' heel all season.
And it struck the Mustangs again in the fourth quarter Friday — the one quarter they couldn't afford to go ice cold from the line.
Mitchell was only 1-of-10 in the final frame, as Ridgewood held on for a 39-35 win.
"That was all game long," Mitchell coach Jacob Tavo said of his team's free-throw shooting woes.
"Our goal is 70 percent from the line and we have met that one game this year so far."
Ridgewood got out-rebounded 14-5 in the first couple quarters, but stayed within striking distance of Mitchell behind the play of guard Tasha Morris, who scored 15 of her game-high 24 points in the first half.
It looked as if Mitchell (4-7) would finish with a decent night from the line, as it went 6-of-8 in the first three quarters of play.
Then the fourth quarter rolled around.
Mitchell got Ridgewood (5-4) in the penalty early with 5:16 left in the fourth, but could not connect on several chances to chip away at the Rams' slim 37-32 lead.
The Mustangs finished 7-of-18 from the line.
Both teams found it difficult offensively to get anything going in the final quarter, with both squads combining for 12 turnovers.
Morris hit two clutch free throws with 22.6 seconds left to give the Rams a 39-35 lead for good.
The Mustangs received solid performances from juniors Caitlin Baggarly (14 points) and Nina Argento (10 points, three assists).
"We definitely had to focus on execution tonight," Ridgewood coach Matthew Rocha said.
"Mitchell has a really great team. We just wanted to make sure we got it in our ball handlers' hands and got to the free-throw line."