It was somewhat surprising to see the Ridley College Tigers leading in the OSBA Final having entered the playoff tournament as the #5-seed but they held the advantage through the first half only to see TRC Wolfpack claw their way back on top. A long shot at the buzzer that could have claimed the victory for Ridley rimmed out to give TRC the 74-72 win and a long-awaited title after last season’s Finals loss.
“It was about resiliency,” said TRC head coach Tyrell Vernon. “I think going down as much as we did early with the seniors that we have and we stuck with the program when we could have easily packed it in but they didn’t – they played with passion, they played with heart and this is the outcome and I’m happy for those boys.”
TRC was led by the big-time double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds by uncommitted Senior 6’7” wing Deon Ejim who hit a clutch three with under a minute left to put his Wolfpack in the lead for good.
“It feels good,” Ejim said post-game after accepting his Finals MVP trophy. “It was a long season and a lot of things happened, injuried and stuff and I bounced back and the fact that I could get this award it means a lot to me and a lot to my team and I really appreciate it.”
Ridley was led by an outstanding performance by Jaden Bediako who finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds and a stifling 8 blocks in the loss and his teammate PG Noah Wharton who registered 10 assists. TRC also had solid performances by Steve Levnaic with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and by Defensive Player of the Year Adong Makuoi who had 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks.
“I’ve been with these guys three years,” reflected Ejim. “Last year we lost in the Finals so this year getting this win means much more than anything.”