(April 10th, 2015) – BRYAN: Late game heroics would be the best way to describe the play of Parker Ruffer in the waning minutes of the thirty-second annual Cage Classic. The Stryker standout amasses a large chunk of his 21 points in those closing moments, propelling the Western All-Stars to a thrilling victory over the Eastern squad.
As the final buzzer sounded, the West stood victorious in their showdown with the East, 111-103.
The West, consisting of players from Williams and Defiance Counties, battled hard against the East, comprised of players from Fulton and Henry Counties, all game long. Generally, the philosophy of the East squad was to put up as many three-point shots as possible, as they combined for 19 attempts from beyond the arc. Wauseon’s Jacob Newlove knocked down a pair of threes, ballooning his scoring total to 8 points on the evening. Noah Castle got in on the act as well, hitting a three as he totaled 7 points. Josh Liechty, of Pettisville, also connected on one of those deep shots, on his way to 5 points.
For the West, the offensive game plan was a bit more complex, calling for more passing and penetration than their Eastern counterparts. Aside from Ruffer’s dynamic scoring performance, Montpelier’s Nate McCord had a solid evening as well, offering up 8 points to the West’s cause. Tanner Clingaman, another Stryker player on the all-star squad, managed 7 points. Hilltop senior Jalen Towers matched that total, hitting a three along the way. Alex Kirkingburg, representing Edon, earned 5 points on the night with baskets from both within and beyond the arc. North Central’s Jordan Reeves added 4 points to the final score as well.
The scoring was fast and furious throughout the contest, and at no time was that more true than in the final minute and a half. The East enjoyed a 103-96 advantage, and appeared to have the game well in hand. Ruffer came alive in that span, however, driving past defenders and scoring in the paint several times. By the time there was only 43 seconds left to play, the score was tied at 103-103. A three point play,done the old fashioned way, is what put the West ahead 106-103. They would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the game.
Also of note, Edgerton’s Max Nihart launched a half court shot at the buzzer, just for the fun of it. The shot zipped through the net, adding a final three points to the Western score. Every fan in attendance, whether they were cheering for East or West, erupted in celebration at the accomplishment.
Overall, the Cage Classic was once again an outstanding celebration of the high school careers of the area’s graduating seniors.
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