RIPLEY – It was late 1996 when Ripley High last defeated George Washington in basketball. Coach Craig Harmon has never beaten the team on the hill as the Vikings head coach.
This nearly changed on Thursday night as Ripley fought and scratched its way to a 3-point deficit with a minute and a half to go. What happened next was heartbreaking for true blue and white fans.
A turnover, a forced, highly contested shot on the baseline, a missed layup and four opportunities to get a put back off of the same missed shot was too much for Ripley to overcome against a quality George Washington squad armed with one of the State’s better players in guard Luke Eddy.
Eddy gave the Vikings credit for their defensive efforts, Even though he netted 26, just a point below his season average.
“Their guards played well defensively. We had to work for every point we got. It was definitely one of the more physical games we have played this season. They sat tough picks and played hard. We are thankful for a road win in the conference (MSAC).We did shoot the ball pretty well, I think." (45%)
When told that it had been over 16 years since his team had lost to the Vikings, Eddy was shocked.
“Really? I had no idea that it had been that long.”
Eddy will play on scholarship for Division I Elon University (North Carolina) and Head Coach Matt Matheny next season.
Ripley was only down by four at halftime but found themselves down by 10 mid-way through the third quarter. George Washington really had little answer for Kade Harrison. He managed to hit tough shots and score in transition.
Cody Sanders continued to give Ripley late game defensive support as he made Eddy change his shot more than once with his long arms and tenacious effort.
Ripley was hurt on the offensive glass and were outrebounded 31-19. The Vikings had opportunities to get easy put backs but missed too many of these chances in the paint.
Ripley hit (6-of-17) 3-point attempts and these timely daggers helped the Vikings hang around and have a chance to win. Casy Smith hit (2-of-4) trey attempts on the evening.
Jacob Haynes continues to embrace his point guard role by dishing out five assists. Chuck Sleboda played tough defense in the paint and Drew Harpold was rather quiet on this night, only shooting three times.
Harrison led the way with 22 points, a blocked shot and three steals, Casy Smith netted 16, five boards and two steals, Haynes had eight and five steals, Sleboda and Harpold tallied three and Luke Layhew added two and a blocked shot.