RIPLEY - If you have spent any time around the Ripley High girl’s basketball squad, you naturally want to cheer for them to succeed. It goes beyond school colors, won-loss records and community ties that bond us all together.
The fact is, this is a great group of student athletes who collectively nudge a 4.0 grade point average and couldn’t be a finer collection of individuals to start a basketball team or be roll models for the girls dribbling their way from the frosh and middle school teams into varsity play.
While we are all guilty of scanning the box scores and figuring scoring averages and rebounding totals, we often forget that these ladies will go on to do much greater things than lead their teammates with the perfect pass or hitting a 3-point bomb from the top of the key.
They will become wives, mothers, grandmothers and often, leaders in the community.
While the ladies have endured a winless season up to this juncture, coach Justin Frashier took time out to talk about what this team means to him.
“I have coached teams that have won 12-15 games that did not put the time and effort these young ladies have this season. Sometimes rewards and accomplishments come in different ways and I would take season after season with the rewards this team has given me.” He continued, “We want to win every game but if kids are not learning life lessons and what it takes to overcome adversity, then what have we really done as coaches?”
This senior night was bittersweet for another reason. Senior guard Jillian Mullins, who has had multiple surgeries on a troublesome knee was hurt again last week and is done for the season.
In an act of sportsmanship and compassion, Lady Reds head coach Kenny DeMoss agreed to let the Lady Vikings snag the tip-off, pass the ball into the lane where Mullins, an exceptional student in the classroom, was perched so that the senior could score her last points in front of the Ripley Health Center faithful. If you had a dry eye after witnessing this, you must surly have a heart composed of capacitors, diodes and soldered wiring. The crowd in blue stood and roared collectively to honor Mullins and a classy move from the opposing team.
It was also a night to honor Ali Cunningham. Cunningham is a three sport participant and stands at the head of her class academically. Ali and Jillian are always quick with a smile and enjoy helping others.
Unfortunately on this night, the Lady Vikings fell to Parkersburg, 49-39 in a tight game that was highly competetive.
Junior Chelsey Hager led the girls in blue with 14 points for the second game in a row, Sarah Williams added nine, Kacie Whitney eight, Kelli Poling four and Jullian Mullins and Ali Cunningham had two each.
Page 2 of 2 - The girls travel to cross county rival Ravenswood tonight.