RIPLEY - Jacob Haynes and Casy Smith are proving to be dedicated to their craft. The seniors-to-be are heating up in summer scrimmages with a common goal. Both guards want to avenge the horrid (2-22) season they experienced as juniors.
There are many reasons why the team struggled so much but neither player is making excuses.
“Personally, I am working all summer on driving the ball to the basket more, getting stronger and also working on my defense.” said Haynes.
Haynes made five three pointers in a game at Parkersburg South last season and proved to be clutch when he nailed a three point dagger in a win over Ravenswood with only seconds on the clock to seal the win for Ripley at Ripley Health Center.
Both players are participating in the three weeks of scrimmages that the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activity Commission allows for prep teams after school is out. Casy Smith will be sharpening his skills with his teamates and in AAU ball.
Smith then will compete in the Junior Nationals in Columbus Ohio in July. The sharp shooter will also be traveling to Charleston to endure a summer boot camp by personal trainer Josh Lewis.
“I’m trying to improve all facets of my game and get stronger, physically,” said Smith.
Smith showed his scoring potential when he dropped 26 points on Saint Albans in last year’s opener that included six three pointers. Ripley needs Haynes and Smith to gel for the team to be successful. A point guard “by committee” was implemented last season by coach Craig Harmon out of necessity.
Smith brought the ball up court the lion’s share of the time and shared the point guard duties with Haynes.
The position looks to be a three-headed monster this season with Josh Chancey seeing some time at the point.
Both Haynes sand Smith have shown the ability to score. With more consistent results, the pair could be a tandem to deal with along with fellow senior post man Chuck Sleboda and Junior-to-be returning All MSAC scorer Kade Harrison.
The Vikings have the option of going with a guard heavy line-up that could run the court and score in transition.
Drew Harpold could easily fit into that role. The junior received quality varsity playing time last season.
Smith averaged 10.0 ppg and 2.9 rebounds last season. Haynes netted 9.7 ppg and 3.6 rebounds in 2011-2012. “Both of those guys played pretty well in our last scrimmage with Saint Albans,” said assistant coach Steve Hunt. “We are counting on them.”
Rupley head coach Craig Harmon could not be reached for comment.