SISSONVILLE - The Ripley High Boys basketball squad (0-4) entered the Wesbanco Holiday Tournament on Friday as the only Class AAA team on the floor. Losses to Class A Valley Fayette (eventual tourney champs) and Class AA Wayne sealed the fate of the blue and white.
Ripley drew the Greyhounds of Valley out of the gate. From the tipoff the Vikings looked as if they were shaking off the rust of a nine-day layover since their last game versus Hurricane on December 18.
The squad appeared timid and was unable to recover versus an athletic Greyhound squad. Ripley point guard Jamison Hunt got his team off and running with a 3-point goal from the top of the key to give Ripley a 3-0 advantage. Ripley led 6-5 with 2:44 left in the opening quarter when Keyshawn Payne hit a trey to give Valley a lead they would never surrender, leading 23-16 at intermission and falling, 51-34. The Greyhounds pressed Ripley relentlessly in the opening half, causing early turnovers that were hard to recover from. The Vikings beat the press on several occasions but were unable to sink an open shot or on some instances, make quick decisions to pull the trigger for an open teammate.
Greyhound post-man Zac Warden was aggressive in the paint and with his teammates crashed the offensive boards for second chance tip-ins early on. Visibly, Ripley outsized the squad that once boasted 1980’s standout and West Virginia University point guard Steve Berger, The “Boomer Bomber”.
Ripley shot at a 28.9 percent clip, going 13-of 49 from the floor and an abysmal 1-of-15 from trey, which contributed greatly to their demise. If the Vikes could have converted just six of those attempts, they would have been in the game. The blue and white had just two team assists in the contest.
FOR THE VIKINGS - Jamison Hunt led all scorers with nine points and two assists, Kade Harrison had seven and nine rebounds, Luke Layhew had six points on an efficient 3-of-3 shooting and three boards, Dylan Hall had four points and two rebounds, Justin McKown had three points and two boards, Chase Johnson had three and three rebounds and Drew Harpold had two points and two rebounds.
Ripley faced Wayne in the second game and made a much more coherent showing in the matchup. Ripley fought and clawed their way to an overtime period, falling to the Pioneers, 66-62.
The Vikings were a little salty after losing to Valley on Friday evening and definitely showed signs of more aggressive play and tenacity.
The opening period kicked off with a 3-point goal from Dylan Hall and a bucket from Luke Layhew. Ripley shot 6-of-12 from the floor in the quarter and were down just 14-13 going into the second period.
Page 2 of 2 - Nate Earl drained a trey to kick off the second period for Wayne. With balanced scoring from both teams, the Pioneers held a slight 31-28 advantage at the half.
Luke Layhew continued has streak of efficient scoring in the paint. The 6-foot-6 post-man missed a double-double in the game by just one rebound, finishing with nine.
Ripley saw balanced scoring in the second half as Layhew, Kade Harrison, Jamison Hunt and Morgan Graves finished with double figures. Both teams had four players in double figures, as shot opportunities were spread around the floor.
Hunt hit for six points in the third to lead the Vikings to a 13-12 advantage in the quarter. The frosh canned a trey and three foul shots in the period.
Knotted at 53 at the end of regulation, the squads entered an overtime period where Wayne shot well down the stretch. Pioneer guards Braden Barker and Wayne Ferguson hit key 3-point goals to trigger an uprising and Wayne won in OT, 66-62.
For the game, the rebounding battle was close with Wayne edging the Vikes 40-34. Ripley’s nemesis in this game was poor three-point shooting. Ripley connected on just 4-of-20 bombs. Early numbers indicate that this may not be an area of strength for the 2013-14 squad.
Kade Harrison notched his first double-double of the season hitting for 13 points and 10 boards while adding a team high 6 assists.
For the Vikings - Layhew had 13 points and nine boards, Chase Johnson had 11 points and two rebounds, Jamison Hunt hit for 11 points and five assists, Dylan Hall had nine points and five rebounds and Justin McKown had five points and five boards.