A slow start to the first half left Ripley (7-3) playing right into the Red Devils’ hands, as Ravenswood (9-1) was able to keep the Vikes’ Chase Fischer to just seven points heading into the locker room as the score stood 13-15, in favor of the blue and white.

An inspired Viking squad emerged for the second half using a 14-0 run that carried over two quarters and put Craig Harmon’s crew firmly in the lead to sail on to a convincing 45-25 victory, for the first of two meeting between the rival schools.

“We just weren’t hitting our shots in the first half,” coach Harmon said of his team’s sluggish performance. “We were too tense and didn’t get very good penetration.”
The physical style of Coach Mick Prices’ Devils hindered Ripley through the first 16 minutes, keeping them from finding a rhythm on offense and holding them to their lowest point total of the season.

Largely in part of Ravenswood’s Chad Small and Mark Davis who filled in nicely to eliminate the Viking’s threat in the lane.

On the reverse end, the blue crew defense held the Devils’ top two scorers Luke Murray (19 ppg) and Ryan Benson (18 ppg) to a minimal of four and eight on the night, ultimately shutting down the Ravenswood offense.

After holding down Fischer early on, it was just a matter of time before the 6’3” junior guard found his touch and did so early in the fourth to score eight straight points and finish his night with 27, while also helping the Viking D hold Ravenswood to just 12 points in the second half.

“Derek (Mullins) played great for us tonight,” Harmon commented about his point guards play on Ravenswood’s Murray. “He was our best defender and played very intelligent by limiting his (Murray) opportunities to score.”

Mullins went on to finish with just three points, but shined with seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

Fischer led all with his 27 while corralling seven boards, with two assists and two steals. Mark Davis led Ravenswood with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Benson had eight rebounds, an assist and a steal, while Murray finished with six boards and two assists.

Ravenswood shot 10-for-47 from the floor for 21.3%, while Ripley was 17-43 for 39.5%. The Devils were two-of-19 from three-point range (10.5%) and three-of-nine from the charity stripe (33%). The Vikes went one-for-two on threes (8%) and 10-18 (55.6%) on the foul line.

Ripley stretched their win streak to five, winning six of the last seven, while Ravenswood’s 14-game unbeaten streak, dating back to last year’s sectional tournament came to a halt. Ironically, the Red Devil’s last loss came to the hands of Ripley a year ago (2/17/09) at home, 53-47.

RAVENSWOOD- Small (2 PTS, 4 REB), Bobby Rymer (PT, REB, AST, STL), Zack Martin (REB), Cole Starcher (2 REB).

RIPLEY- Nick Barnette (5 PTS, 5 REB, AST), Blake Barnette (4 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, STL), Cody Miller (4 PTS, 6 REB, AST, 4 BLK, 3 STL), Kyle Harpold (2 PTS, 6 REB, BLK) Garrett Reid (2 REB).

RAVENSWOOD- 4-9-6-6-- 25
RIPLEY- 7-8-12-18-- 45

Ripley faced AAA No. 2 South Charleston (10-2) yesterday evening (1/25) as a makeup from January 7, only to drop their fourth game of the year, 95-82. Fischer led all scores with 44 points. The Vikes are back in action  tomorrow (1/27) as they play host to the Princeton Tigers (1-10) at 7:30 p.m. at the RpHS Health Center.

Ravenswood will host a two-game stint at ‘The Pit,’ first facing Doddridge County (4-6) tonight (1/26) and then Point Pleasant (7-4) on Friday (1/29). Both games are set for 7:30 p.m.