Anki late threes turns tables for Panthers

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MIDDLEBURG - Ridgeview High basketball got a jolt of momentum off three straight three-pointers from guard Matthew Anki at the start of the third period as the Panthers surged to a 43-37 win over Middleburg High School Friday night at Middleburg High and during senior night for the Broncos.

"Coach (Ridgeview coach Jerome Clyburn) told us to come out as a team and play together," said Anki. "He told the seniors this will be the last time you will play at Middleburg High School in a big rivalry game. How do we want to remember this night?"

Middleburg, coached by Travis Tipton who had established a winning season for his Broncos with an 11-8 overall record, blasted to the lead with a 16-6 opening stanza behind guards Olivier Osier and Jordan Robinson before the Panthers defense, led by center Moise Balungu, with eight rebounds, and forward Rodger Anderson, with four steals, started to create fast break layups to keep the score close at 20-15 at the halftime break.

"The team had their own meeting at the half, I don't know what they discussed, but I was glad it worked out," said Clyburn, who improved to 5-16. "We have had a season of near-misses with little mistakes being costly in close games. Matthew said, "I got you coach" as they left the locker room."

Anki immediately rattled the Bronco gym with three unanswered three pointers to flip the score from 20-15 to 24-20 in just two minutes to spark the Ridgeview lineup. Anki finished with 10 points.

Ridgeview kept the pressure up with Balungu blocking two shots along the way and Jermaine Walker adding some defensive stats under the backboard as the Panthers kept the gap at 34-28 at the end of the third period.

Balungu, who finished with 12 points, added two layups in the fourth to keep the Panthers up by four with a layup from Middleburg center Edgard Enriquez getting the Broncos within three; 40-37 with a minute left in the game.

Ridgeview finishes with Bradford (Tues., Jan. 28 at home), Creekside (Tues., Feb. 4 at home) and Baker County (Fri., Feb. 7 at Baker County) while Middleburg has a SJRAC conference game against Fleming Island (Tues., Jan. 28 at OPHS), St. Augustine (Tues., Feb. 4 at Flagler College), at Creekside (Thurs., Feb. 6) and at Union County (Fri., Feb. 7).

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