NEW PORT RICHEY — First-half lulls have been an issue for Ridgewood since districts and a little bit of that returned in Thursday's Class 6A region quarterfinal against Central.
Turnovers and ball movement looked to be the primary problems for the Rams, but second halves have remained friendly. Up only 21-20 at intermission, Ridgewood used a 14-0 run to start the second half and was able to cruise to a 71-44 victory at Anders Court.
The Rams next play at Nature Coast on Tuesday.
"We came out flat," Ridgewood coach Derek Delgardo said. "I told the guys at halftime that we have to come out in the second half and speed the pace up. Once we did that and got some turnovers, we were able to play our style of game in contrast to theirs."
Ridgewood (26-3) was in a funk right out of the gate, as Central (13-13) slowed the game down and exited the first quarter leading 13-10. Both teams had trouble keeping control of the ball, with each committing five turnovers in the second quarter.
After halftime, however, the Rams came out rejuvenated and able to take control. Ridgewood led 35-20 midway through the third quarter. The Rams led by double digits the rest of the way and the Bears were never able to seriously mount a comeback threat.
"It was very much like the Nature Coast (district title) game," Central coach Matt Zandecki said. "We came out in the second half and gave up some turnovers, had four fouls and that's when we starting losing our composure."
Ridgewood was paced by Ty Quiroz (21 points) and Josh Vail (16 points). Central was led by Brian Eck's 17 points.