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Chargers swap ruffles for fun with Ridges.

Byline: Adam Jude The Register-Guard

It's probably more than a coincidence that the Eugene Chargers are playing their best basketball of the season just as point guard Tryian Ridges is doing the same.

CHARGERS

Ridges is healthy and happy again after playing much of the season with a lingering back injury. That showed Saturday night when he came off the bench to post his second double-double in as many nights, helping the Chargers tally a season high in points in a 161-114 victory over Lewis County (Wash.) at the Morse Event Center.

"It feels good to play with a lot more athleticism again. It makes everything a lot easier," said Ridges, a native of Silver Spring, Md., who had 18 points and 10 assists.

In one particular fourth-quarter stretch, Ridges was at his best, spinning around one defender at midcourt, faking a pass to juke another defender and scoring an easy layup. He then stole the inbounds pass and dribbled between a defender's legs, a play that resulted in a turnover but received a hearty ovation nonetheless from the 200 or so fans in attendance.

Ridges, the team's opening-day starting point guard, has provided leadership as the organization juggled its coaching duties before settling down with Chris Denker.

After a trying stretch midway through the season - when they trudged through four games in four nights in California - the Chargers (10-8) have now won three in a row. They'll look to continue that streak tonight in Portland before returning home for the season finale Tuesday.

"We had people leave the team and some situations with management, but we had a decision to make after the California trip," Ridges said. "We could either hang our heads or stay positive and make a big run, and you see how everyone's playing. We're buying in together and playing as a team."

Charles "The Beast" Easterling was again the never-ending highlight for the Chargers, finishing with 32 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. Solomon Yearby had 32 points and 10 assists, Rodrick Stevenson had 21 points and ex-Duck Andre Joseph had 20.

Antwon Mills had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Jamar Bohannon added 18. Former Duck A.D. Smith had two points off the bench.

"Our chemistry is good, and everyone is sharing the ball," Denker said. "They're starting to understand we don't have to play helter-skelter basketball all the time."

Fidel Seck even got on the board with the game's final basket. The 7-foot-2 reserve center from Senegal filled the roster spot of Lamar Harris, the team's starting center who left earlier this week.

Notes: Luke Jackson, the former Oregon star and current member of the NBA's Toronto Raptors, is scheduled to hold an autograph session during halftime of the Chargers' finale Tuesday night. ... Former Ducks Adam Zahn and Jay Anderson will rejoin the Chargers today in Portland after they played in an exhibition game with 11-foot rims in Seattle on Saturday. Anderson's "Gold" team defeated Zahn's "Black" team 90-60.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Eugene wins its third straight IBL game behind the play of healthy point guard Tryian Ridges
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 17, 2007
Words:497
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