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Rams' blue-collar effort gets job done

By WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 30, 2001

DADE CITY -- Ridgewood frustrated Pasco with its relentless defense Thursday night, forcing 23 turnovers, and used stellar free-throw shooting down the stretch to beat the Pirates 47-33.

Ridgewood guard Chris Halkitis led the Rams' fourth-quarter free-throw binge. Halkitis hit 10 of 10 from the line, including eight in a row in the final 2 minutes.

While Halkitis' 15 points keyed the win, the biggest plays of the game weren't quite as gaudy.

Brenden Geronimo drew a charge with about 2 minutes remaining to keep Pasco from cutting the deficit to less than five points.

On the next possession, Geronimo missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Nate Bradley tipped in the miss to give Ridgewood a 35-28 lead and the Rams never looked back.

"We had two huge plays when I thought Pasco was making a run," said Ridgewood coach Gary Anders. "Those were big plays, but we've got a lot of plays on the floor that ... don't show up in the newspaper. It's because we've got kids that are willing to sacrifice and play good defense."

Bradley had 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Mike Argerenon, Scott Williams, Halkitis and Geronimo combined for nine steals.

The Pirates (0-2) did hold Ridgewood (2-0) to just two points in the first 6:07 of the fourth quarter. However, Pasco couldn't take advantage, mustering just three points while turning the ball over five times.

"It was (turnovers), a little of this and a little of that," Pasco coach Willie "Poncho" Broner III said. "It was a combination of everything."

Devon Hicks led the Pirates with eight points, and Johnny Peyton chipped in 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

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