RIPLEY - Mountain State Athletic Conference foe Cabell Midland came to Ripley Health Center on a rainy Thursday to take on the Vikings of Ripley High. After a rally that found the Vikes down by three with :48 seconds left, the blue and white came up short and fell, 55-46 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of Viking faithful.
For the second straight game, Ripley (1-3) attempted only six free throws and in this case, Midland attempted 24 (making 13). While this isn't the story of the game it does show Ripley's penchant for relying on the outside shot. Chuck Sleboda has asserted himself inside this season and is showing tremendous offensive improvement around the bucket.
Josh Chancey made his first varsity start this season at point guard. Chancey made the most of his opportunity early by knocking down a 3-point shot and diving on the floor for loose balls.
Midland 3-man Niles Dailey gave the crowd a show near the end of the first period when he picked off a Viking pass and went the length of the floor and threw down a thunderous dunk that drew cheers from most in attendance. Midland led after one quarter, 13-12.
It was a similar second period with Sleboda, Jacob Haynes, Kade Harrison and freshman Luke Layhew knocking down shots. Midland spread the ball around as well as four players scored in the period. Dustin Scarberry hit a 3-point shot that found him being bumped out of bounds as he released the ball. There was no call on the bump from the referee to the chagrin of Knights coach Matt Snead and assistant Justin Ripley.
Ripley went to halftime down only 30-26. The Vikings were able to effectively move the ball when the Knights pressed and the blue and white played good defensively in the half.
The third period was pivotal for Ripley as they were only able to net seven points. Midland wasn't much better as they managed to push 12 through the net. After a turnover laden fourth period, the Vikings found themselves down 49-46 with 46 ticks left on the clock and possession of the ball. After two quick passes around the perimeter the Vikings turned the ball over on the baseline as it trickled out of bounds. The opportunity had passed and from there, Midland tried to give the game back to the Vikings as they missed 4-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final seconds but Ripley's final shot attempts couldn't find the net and the Knights reigned victorious.
The story of this game is in the numbers, more specifically shooting percentage.
Ripley only made 4-of-20 3-point attempts in the game while shooting 37% from the field. The Vikes committed 15 turnovers and the Knights 11. The Knights shot at a 47% clip.
Chuck Sleboda and Kade Harrison netted 12, Casy Smith had 10, Jacob Haynes had five and three steals, Luke Layhew had four and Josh Chancey three.
Page 2 of 2 - "We are getting better with each game," said Viking coach Craig Harmon.
Ripley travels to the Lewis County hoops tournament on December 27-28.