LEROY -- In Monday's LeRoy Regional quarterfinal game, the Knights' post game matched up against NCC's sharp shooting.
Blue Ridge won the battle with a 72-62 shootout victory to advance to the regional semifinals.
"I'm a little disappointed [about] giving up 62 [points]," Blue Ridge coach Kyle Watson said, "but I'm really happy [with] scoring 72."
With the win, the Knights (9-19) will face Lexington in the LeRoy Regional on Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. The winner of that game will face either Ridgeview or LeRoy in the championship game Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Blue Ridge has a strong recent postseason history with the Mintuemen, having faced them in the regionals in each of the past two years.
Two years ago, Lexington beat the Knights in the quarterfinals of a regional they hosted. Last year, Blue Ridge returned the favor with a 73-71 victory in the semifinals of the Farmer City Blue Ridge Regional.
The Knights hosted a regular season game against the Minutemen on Jan. 10, which Lexington won 69-67.
"They're playing very good basketball right now," Watson said. "They're a senior-dominant team. They're obviously going to have fire in their eyes. They're the higher seed, so I guess we've got to hope that Cinderella's slippers fit for a week or two. We'll go out and play, go out and have fun, and what happens happens."
Tucker Johnson scored 13 points in the first quarter, including eight on Blue Ridge's opening 11-4 run. Thanks to the shooting touches of Calvary's Bryson Barth and Kyle Freeze, NCC came back and tied the game at 14-14 with 10.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
Johnson made two free throws (he sank 5-of-7 free throws, all in the opening quarter) with 2.5 seconds remaining in the quarter to give his team the 16-14 lead.
Barth made a 3-pointer, one of three he converted in the game, to give Calvary a 17-16 lead early in the second quarter before Johnson made a bucket while being fouled to give Blue Ridge a 18-17 advantage with 7:44 left in the quarter.
Barth finished with a game-high 29 points while Freeze had 14 points. Dustin Beernink contributed 12 points, nine of which were scored on three 3-point field goals.
As a team, NCC made nine 3-pointers, including eight from a combined effort of Barth, Freeze and Beernink.
"Barth is a great shooter," Watson said. "That Freeze kid has been very good scorer for them all year long. I told the coach after the game they played awfully hard."
Defensive adjustments, including the replacement of Will Duggins (who scored five points) for Mark Plunk for the task of guarding Barth, helped the Knights take control of the game in the second half. Barth was held to five points, all on free throws, in the fourth quarter.
"We played a lot better halfcourt defense in the second half," Watson said. "Mark's length really bothered him. Mark Plunk did a really nice job on him in the second half."
The Knights countered offensively with a solid post game. After scoring 17 points in the first half, Johnson added 10 more to finish with a team-high 27 points.
"Tucker's been very steady for us the second half of the season," Watson said.
After Michael Plunk made a 3-pointer to give Blue Ridge a 40-38 lead, Travys Nichols scored a couple of baskets in the paint to help increase the Knights' lead to 46-38 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter.
Nichols was held scoreless in the first half, but scored eight points in the third and fourth quarters each to finish with 16 points. His free throws with 2:15 remaining in the third gave Blue Ridge a 50-41 lead.
"Travys, I had to get on him a little bit at halftime because, [as] I told him, he had as many points as I did at halftime, which is none," Watson said. "He ends up with 16 in the second half. I don't have to have 16 out of him in a half, but I can't have zero from him in a half, either."
Clint O'Neal came off the bench to score three points to give the Knights a total of 46 points in the post.
"We knew that we had a height advantage on them," Watson said. "In a zone offense, we want to attack the basket. We got into the double bonus in the first half, and anytime you get into the double bonus, everybody attacked the lane, and if you get fouled, you're going to shoot two free throws the whole rest of the way. There's going to be some nights where it's the guards' night, and there's some nights where it's the post's night. Tonight just happened to be one night where it was a post night."
Michael Plunk led Blue Ridge's perimeter production. He scored a total of 17 points, including three 3-point field goals.
"Our posts were doing so well that it made them suck inside, and that's what opened up our perimeter guys for some nice shots," Watson said. "I think we ran our zone offense probably the best we've run it all year. We had some nice pass fakes, which opened up some nice assists for layups from our guards."