HOUSTON – When the boys’ UIL state basketball playoffs begin, it’s not the rarest thing for the #4 seed from one district to seriously challenge the top seed from another, or even win the game outright. At halftime of Ridge Point’s game vs. heavily-favored Morton Ranch, the Panthers were only down 36-32.
But the Mavericks (28-6), ranked 18th in the final regular season Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ poll, seized control in the third quarter and pulled away for a 91-71 victory. Eddie Lampkin, the 6’10” junior post, led the Mavs with 22 points on 10-16 shooting, and several shots he made were thunderous dunks that brought the crowd at Spring Branch ISD’s Don Coleman Community Coliseum to its feet.
Four other Mavs scored in double figures: LJ Cryer (21), Westley Sellers (14), D’erice Ulmer (12) and Adrian Caldwell (10). Morton Ranch now faces the winner of Tuesday night’s Cy Fair-Bellaire matchup at Barnett Fieldhouse.
In the first quarter, Ridge Point enjoyed a four-point lead at several junctures. Isaiah LeBlanc’s three-pointer gave the Panthers a 16-12 lead with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the period, and Falowaso Fashoro’s jumper made it 18-14 moments later. The Mavericks scored the next eight points to grab the lead, 22-18, but Ridge Point freshman PJ Haggerty’s “and-one” three-point play with less than a second remaining in the period made it 22-21.
Showing his remarkable agility for a big man, Lampkin wove his way around two defenders for a finger-roll layup that closed the first half scoring.
Haggerty opened the third quarter scoring, drawing a foul and getting a bucket in the first minute – but he couldn’t convert the free throw. On the ensuing possession at the other end, Lampkin drew a foul by Ridge Point’s Marius Hodson as he scored in the paint. That free throw was good for a 39-34 lead.
At that point, Morton Ranch deployed its fast break. Sellers and Marcus Stephens beat the Panthers down the floor after defensive rebounds for easy layups that ignited a 10-2 Morton Ranch run and a 49-38 advantage which the Mavericks gradually extended. At the end of the third quarter, Ridge Point drew within 61-48 when LeBlanc sank a three-pointer while he was knocked to the floor, then added a free throw.
In the fourth, Haggerty scored to get the Panthers within 65-54, but the game turned dramatically when Ridge Point guard Elijah Thomas followed the unwritten rule of postseason basketball, the “no lay-ups” rule. He grabbed Lampkin around the shoulders as Lampkin attempted to finish a fast break, drawing a flagrant foul call that fired up the Mavs. Lampkin made one of two free throws and later added a slam-dunk during a 21-7 run that put the Mavericks’ bi-district win to bed.
Listen to the podcast of Friday’s boys’ basketball playoff game between Fort Bend Ridge Point and Morton Ranch at https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype, including a halftime interview with 57 The KUBE’s High School SportsZone host Todd Freed. Also, listen LIVE Tuesday night to more first-round playoff action: Elkins vs. Katy Taylor at the same link – starting at 6:45 p.m.