Ashburn, Va. — Early in the fourth quarter, Rock Ridge High School junior guard Nico Martirossian drilled a three-pointer to give the Phoenix a 51-50 lead. From there, it was all Stone Bridge. Backed by double-digit scoring performances by four of their seniors, the Bulldogs went on a 13-1 run after surrendering the lead early in the fourth before eventually holding off the Phoenix, 69-56, on February 10 in Ashburn.
“All our seniors have contributed either on or off the court. We have a lot of experience in Healy, Rhodes, and Jerome. They’re just unbelievable,” Stone Bridge head coach Kent Kling said. “Getting Billy Crichton to come back and play basketball after taking the year off is a really big thing. We’ve got Jalen Hagler, who’s a football star, and he basically gets us hyped. Luke Hughes is just a big body who really helps us, and Paul Thoppil’s another inspirational leader for the team.”
Ultimately, the Bulldogs were led by senior forward Isaiah Rhodes – who finished with a game-high 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds – while senior guards Michael Healy and Michael Jerome added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Rhodes, Healy, and Jerome have done a tremendous job carrying the Bulldogs over the last few years, however, the player of the game, up until now, might have flown under the radar.
Stone Bridge senior forward Billy Crichton posted a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double in the Bulldogs’ win over the Phoenix, including going 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Crichton – who didn’t play basketball during his junior season – overcame an ankle injury earlier in the season and has done an excellent job bouncing back.
“He’s like a centerfielder. He can read where the ball is going to go, and he goes up and gets it,” Kling said. “He’s under the radar, because he missed a lot when he sprained his ankle, but he’s a double-double guy.”
While Crichton connected on 7 of his 8 free throw attempts, the Bulldogs did a fantastic job as a whole from the charity stripe, going 25-of-28, including 18-of-19 in the second half. The Phoenix attempted just 11 free throws.
In the loss, Rock Ridge (5-5, 11-8) showed a lot of promise, after appearing on the bubble of the LoCo Top 5 for the first time this season. The Phoenix were led by junior guard Greg Spurlock – who finished with 9 points, 11 rebounds – and senior forward Joe Simmons – who scored 12 points and corralled 5 boards. Rock Ridge is aggressive defensively and on occasion did a really good job getting to the basket. They will be a handful for whoever they play in the upcoming VHSL Region 5C tournament.
It was a big bounce back win for the Bulldogs – who were coming off an ugly, 59-27, loss to Riverside on February 7. Stone Bridge (7-3, 14-5) still holds a share of second place in the Potomac District with games against No. 2 Potomac Falls (7-3, 14-6) and No. 1 Freedom (8-3, 14-7) looming to close out the regular season.
“The other night, we basically couldn’t play any worse than we did. As a coach, it was probably one of the worst games ever,” Kling said. “But the boys, they came together for senior night. I really rolled heavily with the seniors and only pulled a couple of kids off the bench. I left it up to the seniors to bring us home.”
Stone Bridge Stats
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Rock Ridge Stats
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