As the clock dwindled in the third quarter, R.A. Long inbounded the ball to Cameron Holden with 2 seconds left, prompting him to launch a shot from halfcourt — and it fell directly into the bottom of the net.
The wrong net, though, as the ball sailed through an auxiliary hoop to the right after clanking off the iron of the regulation basket.
That about summed up the Lumberjacks’ 46-36 Greater St. Helens 2A League loss to Ridgefield on Thursday at the Lumberdome.
The Jacks scored just nine points in the first half but recovered to score 27 in the final 16 minutes. Their sense of urgency during the second half, and especially to open the third quarter, provided them enough to come within as few as four points of the Spudders.
“We knew that we needed to attack the basket,” RAL co-coach Rally Wallace said. “That was something we talked about at halftime because we were settling for too many outside shots at the start of the game.”
RAL utilized a quick transition offense in the third and found immediate success. Guard Conner Wallace hit a 3, as did Chandler Lyon, and then forward Jacob Thompson layed the ball in from the post.
The Lumberjacks mounted a 10-2 run with four minutes remaining in the third when Tanner Rybnikar rolled through the paint two possessions later and scored, putting RAL within four points of the Spudders.
That was as close as the Jacks would get. Ridgefield broke the Lumberjack press and went on a run of its own, sinking a pair of 3s and finishing the quarter with 11 points.
“Give Ridgefield a lot of credit, they did a good job of taking away the inside,” Rally Wallace said. “We couldn’t get that one shot, or that one stop, that got us over the hump.”
Conner Wallace led the Jacks with 11 points, adding four assists, eight rebounds and three steals.
His intensity on both ends of the floor was highlighted by the two interceptions he had during the Jacks’ early second-half run, and he grabbed five rebounds in those four minutes as well.
“Initially we need to come out with that fire in our eye,” Rally Wallace said. “For this team to be successful, we need to play with that intensity for all four quarters.”
R.A. Long seeks its first league win at Hockinson on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.