RIPLEY - When Ripley Middle School faced Ravenswood Middle School in basketball two weeks ago, Ripley's varsity dominated the Demons at The Pit and cruised to an 18-point victory.
The stage was set, a packed house watched as the Demons served up a hot meal to the Vikings called "payback" and took them down in their own house, 52-39. Hayden Mandrake, the Demons point guard, took the game over with sheer will and played with a controlled abandon much like a boxer weaving his way around the ring before the knockout punch. It was quite clear that these Demons wanted this game.
He had help in the form of teammate Riley Heatherington and company. All Heatherington did was hit two dagger-like 3-pointers in the fourth period to put the game on ice.
"Hayden has turned himself into an amazing point guard. He ran the team tonight like a pro and got his teammates involved. Riley shot the ball very well," said Demon coach Bryan Schirmer.
The Demons took a slim 18-15 lead into the half Mandrake dropped nine points in the third and Ripley was stymied by the Demons 2-3 zone defense.
"We ran the 2-3 zone because we had to play without our big kids inside tonight and we knew we had to make defensive adjustments to compensate for that," added Schirmer.
Ripley's Jamison Hunt made his presence known in the game with a 3-point bomb and a nice floater in the lane in the third.
The fourth quarter belonged to the demons. Ripley managed only a bucket in the quarter while Heatherington was hitting 3-pointers in the quarter, Alex Eastham scored a pair of buckets for Ravenswood.
Coach Wayne was impressed by the play of Mandrake.
"Hayden Mandrake is the best eighth-grade basketball player in Jackson County. He scores for his team but also makes his teammates better." For Ravenswood, Mandrake scored 18, Heatherington 15, Rhodes eight, Morgan seven and Eastham four.
For the Vikings, Hunt had 13, Johnson 11 and 11 boards, Hall nine, Riffe four, E. Casto one and L. Casto one.
In the jayvee preliminary, Ripley beat the Demons for the second time this season as coach Vince Riffe's squad took the game after overtime, 55-51 in a very physical contest.
Ravenswood's Blake Bennett put on a scoring clinic for the Demons but Ripley's Garrett Robertson shot his team to the victory on this night.
For Ripley, Garrett Robertson netted 18, Todd Withrow had 13, J.T. Rollins and Conner Isner had six, Griffin Gurst and Cody Ramsey had three, Cyrus Casto, Isaiah Riffe and Lake Kerns had two. For Ravenswood, Blake Bennett led all scorers with 22, Alex Eastham six, Chase Swain five, Jared Ball, Lakin Tucker and Even Dunlap added four and Austin Comer netted two.
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