Unlike their three earlier wins this week Presbyterian was unable to get off to a fast start on Saturday. The Bobcats wasted little time in grabbing the lead as James Akers hit a driving basket just fifteen seconds into the game to give Presbyterian a 2-0 advantage. Caleb Miskelly converted on one of two free throws for the Patriot’s first points of the game at the 6:40 mark and Jordan Stentiford canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give MRA their first lead at 4-2. Presbyterian would tie the game at 4-4 on Hayden Eustachy’s fast break basket but MRA starting taking control. Seven straight points over the next two minutes forged the Patriots to an 11-4 lead with 2:32 left in the opening quarter. Gage Garner’s assist to Dan Rust closed out the first quarter with Presbyterian within five points at 13-8. (Above) MRA senior Jordan Stentiford (#23) had 11 points on the day
Ryan Ellis hit a 3-pointer to put MRA up 16-8 following a Presbyterian turnover to start the second quarter but the Bobcats countered with a Cade Martin offensive rebound and put back followed by Mitchell Moore’s 3-pointer from the corner to trim the deficit to 16-13 with 4:38 remaining in the half. Presbyterian stayed within striking distance and at the 2:03 mark pulled to within three points at 21-18 after Hayden Eustachy drilled a 3-pointer from the wing. MRA would take a 23-18 advantage into the half after two Caleb Miskelly free throws. (Above) Hayden Eustachy (#1) of Presbyterian looks for an opening in the Patriot defense
Madison-Ridgeland’s defense shifted gears in the third quarter as they held Presbyterian to just two baskets while increasing their lead to 33-22 on the 3-point shooting of Ryan Ellis and Jeffrey Rickels.
The Patriots exploded with a 14-4 run during the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to take their biggest lead at 47-26 en-route to the 52-31 win.
Ryan Ellis led MRA with a game high 15 points, Jordan Stentiford added 12, Caleb Miskelly 11, Jeffrey Rickels 9, Alec Rawlings 3 and Justin Malone 2.
Presbyterian was led by Hayden Eustachy with 11 points, Mitchell Moore had 6, Cade Martin and Dan Rust 4 each and Hunter Hawkins, James Akers and Drew Deen had 2 apiece.
Madison-Ridgeland Academy finishes the 2010 season with a 34-4 mark while Presbyterian ends at 26-10.
Post game comments:
**MRA head coach Richard Duease**
“We picked up our intensity in the third quarter. We started jumping the ball a little more and created some easy buckets that got us going. We just emphasized that we had to pick our defense up. We had to get up in the passing lanes a little more and create some problems for them and not let them be comfortable and that’s what our guys did.”
On the play of Ryan Ellis after sustaining an ankle injury a week earlier
"It was about winning the Gold Ball and if you would have told me on Monday he was going to play I would have said no way. Dr Barrett and Allen Whitfield and those guys did a great job getting him ready. If you were to see his ankle you would say man how did he play today? It took a lot of guts.”
**MRA senior Ryan Ellis**
What were you thoughts after sustaining the ankle injury last week?
“During the state championship game I hurt it in the first quarter and I got it taped and went back out to play because I knew how important it was for my team. I can’t let my team down so I rehabbed this whole week, sometimes twice a day. I knew I had to get back to the team to help them win the championship.”
What was the mood at halftime?
“We went into halftime and put the first half behind us and focused on playing our basketball, knocking down shots when we got them and playing hard on defense.”
How does it feel as a senior winning your last game?
“It feels awesome, it’s a great honor. The first team in history, so we’re real happy.”