The last time the Gordon Lee Trojans and Ridgeland Panthers faced off on the basketball court was on Dec. 30 when the Trojans used a second-half rally to pull off a come-from-behind 53-42 win in Chickamauga.

Thursday night in Rossville, it was the Panthers who followed the same script.

Down nine points at intermission, Ridgeland blistered the nets in the third quarter and shot their way to a 61-47 victory to earn a split of the series against their county neighbors.

A back-and-forth first quarter saw the Trojans grab a 13-10 lead, but an 11-4 Gordon Lee run to begin the second quarter gave the visitors some breathing room. Logan Simerley had nine points in period and the Trojans would go into the locker room with a 28-19 lead.

However, it would be a different Ridgeland team that took the court in the second half, especially in the third quarter.

The Panthers scored 20 of the first 24 points after the break to take the lead. A Zack Harrison 3-pointer with 3:52 to go put the Panthers in front, 33-32, and they would add six more points to stretch their advantage to seven with just under two minutes to play in the quarter.

But Gordon Lee refused to quit and scored the final seven points of the period. The run was capped by a trey from Simerely with 13 seconds left on the clock, which knotted the score at 39 apiece and set the stage for a frantic fourth.

Ridgeland punched first with back-to-back threes by Harrison and freshman sharpshooter Matthew Ramsey, but Simerley would answer with his fourth 3-pointer of the game to keep his team within striking distance.

However, Ramsey would hit a dagger of 3-pointer with 1:47 to go to put the Panthers up 56-47 and the Trojans were forced to begin fouling shortly thereafter. Ridgeland (5-10) would connect on 5 of 8 free throws down the stretch to pick up its fourth win in its last six games.

Four players finished in double figures for the Black-and-White, led by 16 points from Kyan Clark and 11 each by Ramsey and Kobe Lewis. Harrison scored 10, all in the second half, while nine from Judd Anderson and four from Carter Platt rounded out the scoring.

Simerley had a game-high 20 for Gordon Lee (4-9). Dawson Knight had 10 with a pair of threes and Will Carswell matched him with 10 points of his own. Cayden Powell added four points, followed by two by Hunter Holmes and one from Conner Whitman.

Gordon Lee girls 61, Ridgeland 29

A 22-point first quarter set the tone in the night's opener and the Lady Trojans went on to post the non-region victory.

Emma McGraw burned the nets for 21 points, including five treys for Gordon Lee (5-7). Addison Sturdivant scored 12 points and Kaitlyn Wagoner and Riley Shirley added seven apiece. Sidney Gasaway and Sienna Norton each went for five, while two points each from Ashlyn Schmidt and Abigail Ashley filled out the scoring column.

Haylee Collins knocked down two 3-pointers for her team-high six points for Ridgeland (2-16). Macie Boren was next with five points, while Madison Lennon, Ragan Wimpee and Shayla Rosson added four each. Lexie Young had three, while two by Emma Yarbrough and one from Mackensie Miller rounded out the night.

Gordon Lee will get back to Region 6-A action on Friday with home games against Mt. Zion, while Ridgeland will head to Southeast Whitfield on Jan. 26 for a Region 7-AAAA doubleheader.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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