Ripley girls basketball loses in showdowns with state-ranked teams

Mark Martin

To say the Ripley Lady Viking basketball team faced a rugged stretch of games as of late would be quite the understatement.

In back-to-back-to-back showdowns, John Kennedy’s crew met up with three state-ranked teams in Nitro, No. 4 in Class AAA, Capital, No. 7 in Class AAAA and Wayne, No. 3 in AAA.

Ripley fell in all three of those encounters.

Nitro handed the Lady Vikings a 59-37 setback, a talented Capital team picked up a 53-33 victory while Wayne left the Ripley Health Center with a 52-36 win to remain undefeated.

While the losses were tough to endure in sending Ripley to 6-6, Kennedy remains high on this 2021 team.

“These girls are still going to do special things,” Kennedy said. “Those tough teams only make you better for the postseason.”

Sectional action — the first step towards possibly reaching the state tournament — comes up in a matter of days.

The West Virginia High School Girls State Basketball Tournament will unfold inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center April 27-May 2.

Nitro 59-Ripley 37

“For 16 minutes we were right there with them. It was a one-point game at the half,” Kennedy said. “And then we forgot about Baylee Goins in the third. She hit a couple of 3s, a mid-range shot and some free throws.”

Goins, a returning All-Stater and one of West Virginia’s top players, scored 24 for the Wildcats.

“We had our opportunities in transition in the second half and either had an unforced turnover or missed layups,” Kennedy added.

McKenna Hall had 15 to lead Ripley’s attack. Sophie Nichols scored nine. Erica Ryan had six, Lauren Roush finished with five and Corbin Casto contributed four.

Capital 53-Ripley 33

Hall paced Ripley with 10 points in the loss against the Lady Cougars.

“We came out early and had some good looks, we just didn’t have the legs,” Kennedy said. “The majority of our shots were off the front iron. Capital has had some good wins. We must handle the ball better.”

Rounding out Ripley scoring were Nichols and Corbin Casto with six. Olivia Greathouse finished with five. Erica Ryan had four and Ellie Hosaflook added two.

Wayne 52-Ripley 36

Two players scored all but 10 of Wayne’s 52 points.

And that worked out just fine for the Lady Pioneers, who have developed into one of the state’s better programs the past few years.

Alainna Eves and Haley Wallace scored 22 and 20, respectively as Wayne moved to 11-0.

“This was a learning experience,” Kennedy said of the matchup with Wayne. “It was the first time this season the girls grew up defensively. They executed the game plan pretty well.”

Nichols scored 13 to pace Ripley’s offensive attack. Casto had nine while Hall and Hosaflook each delivered six.

Ripley fell behind 17-8 at the end of the first quarter and Wayne managed to keep the Lady Vikings at bay the rest of the game.

“If we make our shots around the rim, it’s a different ball game,” Kennedy said. “The girls must lock in on the rim, have confidence and trust in their shots. It wasn’t like we weren’t getting shots.”

Wayne, by the way, suffered its first loss of the season a few nights later to Nitro, 73-59. Nitro has just one loss on the season.