After a fast start in the first quarter, at times Tuesday night it felt like there was a lid on the basket for Blue Ridge’s boys basketball team.
But the Barons’ identity isn’t built on the offensive end, so Blue Ridge never really panicked in a 56-42 victory over Life Christian Academy.
“We’re completely a defensive team — as coach always says it’s not about the offense, the offense will come,” said Blue Ridge senior Dhruv Mehrotra. “Something we can always control is our effort on defense.”
The Barons jumped out to a 23-11 lead in the first quarter led by William Lee and Chris Rogers knocking down two 3-pointers each during the frame. From there though, the offense slowed to more of a crawl, including a third quarter with just eight points while the Barons shot just 28 percent from the field as a field. But while the offense slowed, the defense ramped up. The Barons held Life Christian to just two points in the third quarter, clamping down with stifling work underneath and in the backcourt.
Mehrotra hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth that kept Life Christian at bay as the Eagles started going to the foul line regularly and connected on nine of 14 free throw attempts in the fourth.
“We always play as a team so it doesn’t matter if I miss all my shots or make all my shots, we’re always going to play as a team,” Mehrotra said. “You just have to have the confidence that you put that work in and it’s going to fall.”
Mehrotra finished with nine points to lead the Barons while Rogers and Lee had eight points each. Houston Emory chipped in seven and Ernesto Torres had six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Life Christian employed a barrage of athletes who worked to protect the rim, making scoring inside a difficult task.
Jaden Frazier hauled down 11 rebounds while Houston Emory grabbed eight boards. Michael Gray had five assists on the night. Andy Nwaoko scored six points and grabbed five boards.
The Barons (2-0) will travel to Mercersburg Academy Saturday at 3:30 p.m.