CHARLESTON - The Ripley Viking basketball squad wrapped up their season with a 75-50 defeat in their Region 3 sectional matchup with the Cougars of Capital High School. Unfortunately, their road ended on the same hardwood as last season.
On January 30, Ripley squeezed out a three-point victory over the Cougars in Charleston. Capital was playing without leading scorer Carrington Morris.
Yes, he makes that much of a difference in their team.
Morris dropped 27 points and 13 boards on Ripley Monday night and the Vikings had no defensive answer for the junior guard, regardless of who was defending him.
Four of Ripley's five starters scored in the opening period highlighted by two 3-pointers from wing-man Kade Harrison. Drew Harpold got in on the act as he also blistered the net for a trifecta.
Ripley was knotted with the Cougars at 16 after one quarter.
The second quarter found the Vikes shooting at just a 25% clip (2-of-8) on 2-point buckets and 3-of-8 on treys (40%). The quarter was highlighted Casy Smith's 3-point rainmaker from the top of the key.
The Vikings were down 37-24 at the half. The Cougars were scoring in transition and capitalizing on Viking turnovers.
The Cougars flexed their muscles on the boards. They fought for position on missed shots and it was obvious that they wanted to own the glass.
The third quarter was pivotal for Ripley if they wanted back into the game. They had to take a bite out of the Cougar's advantage.
Coach Craig Harmon's Vikes shot well in the period (46%) but Capital answered every bucket and sizzled the scoreboard at a (60%) shooting clip.
Morris dropped 12 points in the quarter and Capital outscored Ripley in the frame 23-15.
While Morris shot a blistering 10-of-15 from the floor, he also snagged four steals and dished out six assists and often his sharp, accurate passes to his teammates were deflected out of bounds because they weren't prepared to receive the ball.
Capital and Ripley substituted in the final period after the game was out of reach where the final score was tallied.
Ripley was whipped on the glass. Capital doubled up on the Vikings 46-23.
On a positive note, with two blocked shots on the night Viking junior Kade Harrison became the all-time Ripley leader in blocked shots with 52 in his career. He has 37 on the season, which broke the old single season mark of 28. With Harrison's senior season ahead, he will be able to build on that accomplishment.
Sadly, seniors Casy Smith, Jacob Haynes, Chuck Sleboda, Austin Parsons and Cody Sanders will not suit up for the Vikings again.
For the game, Harrison led Ripley with 19 points and two blocks, Casy Smith netted 12 and five rebounds, Jacob Haynes had five and five assists, Luke Layhew had five and two boards, Morgan Graves netted three and Chuck Sleboda, Dylan Hall and Drew Harpold all had a bucket each.