NEW PARIS - Reminded that his 3-pointer to start the game banked in from the top of the key, Chestnut Ridge's Ben Pick rolled his eyes.
"That's happened to me before," Pick said. "It's a starting point. It's three points either way."
Indeed. And it's a good thing for the Lions, too, because they needed every point they could get to fend off Northern Bedford.
After getting a little lucky at the start, Pick was good the rest of the way, scoring a game-high 24 points as Ridge continued to have the Black Panthers' number and stayed undefeated in the Sideling Hill League with a 61-60 victory at the Richard W. Fisher Gymnasium on Friday night.
"We had a big lead, and it seemed like we had a lot of mental errors [near the end]," Lion coach Randy Meck. "But we stuck together."
In a game of runs, Ridge (12-2 overall, 7-0 SHL) never trailed after scoring the first seven points. However, Northern Bedford cut the margin to one, then four, then three, then one and finally one again on Zane Snyder's shot with 3.4 seconds left - the Panthers were down 14 with 6:33 to play.
Snyder sent Adam Wiley to the line with 2.4 seconds left for a one-and-one. Wiley missed the front end, but Pick was there to grab the offensive rebound and pass it outside as time expired.
"It was a great feeling knowing that we sealed the game," Pick said. "It was nerve-wracking."
It was fitting that Pick got that rebound. He not only led both teams in scoring, he had three steals, three blocked shots and did a lot of the Lions' ballhandling. He also had a big driving layp with 1:50 to play.
"He just does it all for us. Tonight, he did a good job of defending the post," Meck said. "He just seemed to be everywhere."
Beau Bosch added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions, and Wiley scored seven of his nine points in the final quarter as Ridge was hanging on by its fingernails.
Kyler Diehl fronted Northern Bedford with 20 points, while Snyder netted 14 off the bench, and Tayler Pressel finished with 11. The Panthers dipped to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in league play.
It was the seventh straight time Ridge has beaten the Panthers - the Lions swept them each of the past two regular seasons and defeated them in the District 5 Class AA playoffs, as well. However, four of those contests have been determined by three points or less and the difference was more than 11 only once.
"That seems to be what happens to us. We get down early, and then we just have to dig and claw to get back in it. That takes so much energy. You almost have to be perfect," Panthers coach Barry Crawford said. "If you get three possessions, you have to be 3-for-3. They only have to be 1-for-3. That's what happens when you get down."
Northern Bedford will have another crack at the Lions on Feb. 13. For now, though, the win gave Ridge a two-game lead over Northern and Tussey Mountain in league play.
"We know right now that Northern Bedford's going to bounce back from this," Meck said, "and they'll be ready to play us at their place, for sure."
Game notes: Zach Pressel scored nine points for the Panthers. ... Ridge started three Wileys - Adam and Tyler are brothers, and Matt is their cousin - while Northern Bedford starts twin brothers in the Pressels. ... Northern travels to Southern Fulton on Tuesday. Ridge is off until Jan. 28, when it hosts Richland.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (60): England 1 0-0 2, Z. Pressel 3 1-2 9, T. Pressel 4 2-2 11, Diehl 9 2-3 20, Over 1 0-0 2, Snyder 6 0-0 14, Barnes 1 0-0 2. Totals - 25 5-7 60.
CHESTNUT RIDGE (61): T. Wiley 1 2-2 4, Pick 10 1-3 24, A. Wiley 3 2-4 9, M. Wiley 2 1-2 5, Bosch 7 5-6 19, Weyant 0 0-0 0, Grubb 0 0-0 0. Totals - 23 11-17 61.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford11 12 16 21 - 60
Chestnut Ridge17 14 15 15 - 61
3-point goals: Northern Bedford 5 (Snyder 2, Z. Pressel 2, T. Pressel); Chestnut Ridge 4 (Pick 3, A. Wiley).
Records: Northern Bedford (11-3; 5-2 SHL); Chestnut Ridge (12-2; 7-0 SHL).
Officials: Denny Gramling, Roy Rulla, Don Moss.
JV: Chestnut Ridge, 59-17. High scorers-Tyler Oswalt, NB, 7; Luke Stultz, CR, 12.