FROSTBURG, Md. - Mountain Ridge hosted their annual Christmas Classic basketball tournament last week which included girls varsity teams from University, Allegany, and Catoctin.
The Lady Miners had an impressive showing throughout the tournament winning the first game over Catoctin 66-40 then going toe-to-toe in the championship game with University before falling short 66-62.
The first game of the tournament took place on Wednesday, December 27th as University played against the Allegany Campers.
The Campers could not keep pace with the University offense as the Hawks put up 70 points to claim victory 70-58. With the victory of Allegany University gained a berth into the championship game on Thursday.
The Hawks opponent in the title game of the Christmas Classic was the winner between Mt. Ridge and Catoctin.
Early in the contest both teams traded shots back and forth but neither team could gain the upper hand. Also early in the contest both teams used the press to create turnovers and score points on the fast break.
After the 1st quarter the Cougars held a slim lead 17-14.
The second quarter was key for Mountain Ridge as the Miners went on a run that would end up as the deciding factor in the outcome of the game.
The Lady Miners played tough defense holding the Cougars to only 4 points.
Mountain Ridge’s Alexie Arnold scored 8 in the second quarter and Kailia Pua’auli was able to drop in 6 points of her own to give the Miners a 32-21 lead at halftime.
Coming out of the locker room to start the second half, the Lady Miners stayed hot as they were able to keep a comfortable lead throughout the remainder of the contest.
When the buzzer sounded at the end of the 4th quarter Mountain Ridge walked off the court with a solid victory over Catoctin, 66-40.
Alexie Arnold finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks and Kailia Pua’auli finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds for the Miners. Seairra Ward also added 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Olivia Crum scored 12 points for Catoctin and Melanie Topper added 10 points.
Next up for Mountain Ridge was a matchup against University in the championship game.
On December 28th the third place game of the Christmas Classic featured Allegany vs Catoctin.
The Campers of Allegany outplayed Catoctin throughout the majority of the contest as they were able to put up 53 points while holding Catoctin to 40 points.
The following game was the championship contest between Mountain Ridge and University.
Both teams looked prepared and hungry to take home the title trophy.
After the ref tossed the ball into the air for tipoff, it was clear the teams were evenly matched.
Both teams used a similar style defensive to start out the first half; a press followed by a zone defense.
University was able to grab a lead 17-14 after the first quarter and 30-26 at halftime. Trailing by 4 points after the first half, Mountain Ridge’s Head Coach Valery Broadwater instructed her team to keep battling underneath the glass, then push the ball up the court fast.
In the 2nd half University switched their defensive strategy to a man-to-man defense and they continued to play well on both ends of the court.
During the 3rd quarter the Hawks gained momentum and built a 10 point lead. Down by double digits the Lady Miners faced an uphill battle but they were not ready to give up.
In the 4th quarter the Lady Miners were able to trim the lead down to just 4 points, but University was able to maintain a lead because they were able to connect at the free throw line as time wound down.
The Mountain Ridge Lady Miners 4th quarter comeback fell just short as University won the game 66-62 to capture the Christmas Tournament Championship.
Zoey Murphy led University with 25 points while Ashton Boggs had 14.
Statistically for the Lady Miners Alexie Arnold had a big game scoring 25 points and pulling down 18 rebounds notching a double-double.
Kailia Pua’auli had a solid game shooting the basketball as she tossed in 13 points of her own.
Seairra Ward also contributed to the offense by scoring 9 points while her teammate Maddie Paris came off the bench and chipped in 7 points.
Alexie Arnold and Kailia Pua’auli of Mountain Ridge were selected to the All-Tournament team along with Taya Sloan from Allegany, Melanie Topper from Catoctin, and a pair of University players Ashton Boggs and Zoey Murphy.
Next up for the Lady Miners (4-4) is a home game against Southern on Wednesday January 3rd.