Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools
The North Thurston boys basketball team beat River Ridge 67-63 in overtime Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in a close 3A South Sound Conference cross town rivalry game. The win for North Thurston (1-8, 1-6, 3A SSC) was the first on the season for the Rams. For the visiting River Ridge Hawks (2-8, 2-4, 3A SSC) the loss means they reset as they prepare for Yelm.
River Ridge led 19-9 after one quarter and 29-24 going into half time. North Thurston outscored Ridge 17-11 in the third quarter to take a 41-40 lead going into the fourth. Both teams batted in the fourth quarter with Thurston leading late. Ridge freshman Ahmari Steplight hit a three pointer at the horn to send the game into overtime.
Junior Rams guard Jayden Robinson scored 14 on the night including 7 points in overtime to lead North Thurston to the victory in the extra quarter. Thad Tenkley led North Thurston with 17 points and Hawks guard Dontaae Robinson led all players on the night with 24 points.
The win was a huge encouragement for a young North Thurston team. Rams Coach Mike Connor was pleased with his team’s effort. “I was just really proud of our guys,” he said. “The kids have been through a lot. The future is bright for Thurston Basketball. We are trying to instill the values that coach Brown had. We play hard, play smart and play together. We want to take this sweet moment but we want to turn it into a movement as we move forward to close the season.”
River Ridge Coach Russell Steplight is looking to reset as they move on. “It was a tough one tonight and I knew Thurston would be ready to play,” he said. “We just need to get back and take things more serious.”
Half time saw special performance by the North Thurston Rams Dance team and a short basketball game including students from the North Thurston Unified Basketball Team.