WHEELING –  A two-game road trip sent head coach John Kennedy’s Ripley Viking girls basketball team into a spiral.  Last Wednesday night at Wheeling Park, the Vikings managed just six first half points in a 39-26 loss to the Patriots.  Then on Friday night, the Vikings again struggled, losing at Class AAA No. 5 South Charleston.

[It was a] tale of two halves again,” Kennedy said after the loss at Park, “ Here’s exactly what happened, we didn’t follow the game plan in the first half and then believed in it in second half and played with effort.   Why make the game harder than what it has to be?  Do the simple things we stress everyday in practice and pride ourselves on as a coaching staff.”

Kennedy continued, “Multiple veteran high school & college coaches advised me when I first was hired as the head coach to place the utmost importance on effort while enjoying the simplicity and pureness of the game.  Take skill out of the equation and make the backbone of the program effort and accountability.  So when a player gets subbed out, I can guarantee you one of the coaches caught them not giving effort or making the same repetitive mistake.  Players are being held more accountable in the last three or four games by the entire coaching staff. Inexhaustible effort is a great equalizer when you are the underdog every game.”

The Vikings had no scorers in double-figures against the Patriots, with Lexi Miller leading the way with nine points.  Freshman Katlyn Sarver added six; Keston Smith, four; Presley Fisher, three; and Jaelyn Hunt and Kenzie Casto, two.  Lauren Shultz paced Park with eight points. 

Again, Kennedy’s frustration didn’t lie in his squad’s execution, but its effort.

“So, let’s talk effort, how much skill does it require to box out on the defensive end?   All effort.  How much skill does it take for four players to crash the offensive boards?   All effort.  How much skill does it require to sprint in transition offense & defense?  All effort.  How much skill does it take to give a simple ball fake, shot fake, head fake, foot fake?  All effort.  How much skill does it take to give a sub a high five or a pat on the back?  All effort.   How much skill does it take to shut baseline off?  All effort.  How much skill does it take to close out on a wide open perimeter shooter?  All effort.  How much skill does it take to take to jump to the ball instead of reaching and committing a foul?  All effort.    How much skill does it require to root for your teammates on the floor?  All effort. How much skill does it require to talk on defense?  All effort.  How much skill does it take to follow the defensive game plan? All effort.  How much skill does it require to get on the floor after a loss ball?  All effort.  How much skill does it require to stand tall and take a charge?  All effort.    How much skill does it take to play for the name on the front of your jersey.  All effort,no skill.  Row the boat.  You’re either on the ship, or you’re not.”

 

SOUTH CHARLESTON 56 – RIPLEY 29

More offensive struggles frustrated the Vikings in a 56-29 loss at South Charleston.  Ripley was held to just nine points in the second half, allowing the Black Eagles to come away with the victory.

Miller and Fisher were the high scorers for the Vikings (4-9), contributing seven points each.  Maggy Criser followed with six, Hunt with five, Sarver, three and Casto, one.  

The Black Eagles had two in double-figures, with Rhea Smith and Lavender Ward pouring in 16 points apiece.

Ripley will try to get back on track once again tomorrow night at home against Parkersburg.  Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. from the RpHS Health Center.