Spartans hold off West to win tourney

Central Davidson’s Derek Chavis is knocked down by West Davidson’s David Monk during the NewBridge Christmas Classic championship game Friday night at Ledford. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

WALLBURG | Sometimes you just need to be good at the right time.

Central Davidson’s Will Ramsey knocked down an unlikely 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds to help lift the Spartans to a rousing 60-54 victory over rival West Davidson in the championship game of the NewBridge Bank Christmas Classic Basketball Tournament Friday night at Ledford High School.

Ramsey’s clutch shot came with the Spartans holding a slim 54-51 lead with 1:32 left to play, and more or less halted any chance West had to win the game.

“Ramsey just hit a huge 3 for us,” said Central coach Brian Hege, whose team is now 9-2 overall. “He hadn’t shot the ball well all week, so to take that shot at that point in time and hit it shows he’s got a lot of confidence in himself.”

Was Hege OK with him taking that shot?

“Well, since he made it, yeah,” smiled Hege.

There’s a sense from the Spartan side that Central should never have been in that position to begin with. The Spartans blistered the Dragons for nearly three quarters, holding a 39-20 lead with 2:10 left in the third period and seemingly on its way to its first Christmas Classic title since 1997.

“We dismantled them for almost three periods,” said Hege. “Then they dismantled us.”

Indeed, the Dragons battled back behind the 3-point shooting of Tyler Grooms, mixed in with the foul shooting of Austin Teague and some costly turnovers by the Spartans midway through the fourth period.

Consequently, West closed the gap to 49-47 with 4:06 left to play, and then again to 52-50 with 2:56 to go.

But West could never quite catch Central. And when Ramsey hit his trey, it seemed to take all the gusto out of West.

“In the first half we weren’t doing the things that we were doing to get us here,” said West first-year coach Derrick Stokes. “It came to a point where I had enough, and I put our bench in (in the third period). And they showed them (the starters) that if you do what you’re supposed to do, hey, we’ve got a chance here.

“And when the starters watched, and learned, that started the comeback,” said Stokes. “But then the Ramsey kid hit a huge shot and that was really big for them.

“Hey, we battled. We just didn’t play four quarters tonight.”

Hege said he thought his team frittered away its big lead when they let the game get “helter-skelter.”

“We just weren’t thinking when we lost that lead,” said Hege. “In that last timeout I asked them, ‘Did you think this was going to be easy?’ I mean, it’s a championship game. They’re not going to quit. They’re here for a reason.”

Stokes said the game was a learning experience for his team.

“To be honest with you, this program hasn’t won very many games,” said Stokes. “I think right now this game was too big for us. A lot of jitters in the first half. But once we calmed down and realized it was just another game, we started playing.

“So hopefully the next big game we play in we’ll be ready for it.”

Chris Pompey paced Central with 18 points while John Hanes had 13.

Teague led West with 22 points.

The all-tournament team included West’s Grooms and Teague, Central’s Ramsey and Hanes, and Ledford’s Brandon Rothrock.

Central’s Pompey won the Gary Hinkle most Valuable Player Award.