The Raiders posted their 10th win and stayed in the thick of the Inter-County League race.
By JOHN BUTERA
NORTH LIMA -- On a night when defense was nonexistent, the South Range Raiders stayed in the Inter-County League title picture by turning back Mineral Ridge 90-83 Saturday night at South Range High.
South Range (10-1, 6-1) stayed one game back of Springfield (10-1, 6-0) in the Inter-County League.
"Every year I tell the kids when we come down here that they are going to run it," Mineral Ridge coach Del Ruiter said. "That's exactly what they did. You look up and, zoom, they're gone."
Many fouls: The game featured 48 fouls, 59 foul shots and 147 shots from the floor.
In a glimpse of what was to come, the teams shot 40 times in the first quarter as South Range took an 18-13 advantage.
Kevin Garland hit two 3-pointers in the period for Mineral Ridge (9-3, 5-2) to keep the Rams within striking distance.
Freshman Andrew Whitmer made six 3-point shots and scored 20 points -- all in the second half. Trailing 40-37 with 6:56 left in the third quarter, the Rams saw South Range get baskets from four different players to build a 48-37 lead at 3:57.
King pops 28: Jason King, who turned in possibly the best game of his career with 28 points, then began to get the hot hand for the Raiders, as South Range again built an 11-point lead and led by 10, 54-44, at 1:34.
"Jason had his best game of the year," South Range coach Harold McCue said. "I was glad to see that because I tell the kids that big players step up in big games."
Mineral Ridge hit two more 3-pointers in the quarter and trailed by just six, 56-50, to start the fourth quarter.
Then the endless fourth quarter began.
By the time it was over, South Range went to the foul line an incredible 27 times, connecting on 20. In all, the Raiders scored 34 points in the quarter, just one more than the Rams.
Mineral Ridge pulled within six in the fourth quarter, 83-77, but clutch free throw shooting from the Raiders, including nine by George Rohan, sealed the game.
Balanced scoring: The Raiders had five players in double figures, including King, Matt Kirk (19), Richie Schuler (14), Rohan (13) and Robert Bates (10).
Andrew Whitmer scored 20 points for Mineral Ridge and Malachi Hall added 17.
"[Ruiter] did everything in his power to win this game, but our free throw shooting was the difference," McCue said.
Malvern 58, Southern 45: SOUTHERN -- Mike Solvey scored 29 points to lead Malvern past Southern (3-9).
Southern freshman Josh Diaz scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Justin Shilot added 13 points.