By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW SITE – A rebound on one trip.
A defensive stop another time down the court.
Sometimes the difference between two good high school girls basketball teams can come down to the simplest and slimmest of things, much like the matchup Tuesday between the Ripley Lady Tigers and New Site Lady Royals.
The Lady Tigers had just enough of an edge in quickness and inside strength to edge the Lady Royals 82-74 to wrap up the pre-Christmas schedule for both squads.
“When we didn’t turn the ball over, we got the shots we wanted,” Ripley coach Katie Bates said. “Our main option on offense is to get the ball inside, get the ball in the paint.
“That’s where we’re better at scoring, like tonight.”
It was hard-fought from the outset, as might be expected from a pair of one-loss teams.
Ripley (12-1) edged its way to a 17-15 lead after the first quarter, and the score was tied as late as 22-22 in the second period on a Grace Elliot rebound and basket for New Site (10-2).
That is where the Lady Tigers put together some solid offensive possessions. The remainder of the half, junior Daisha Colom hit three baskets from the wing, and guard Jayla Chills penetrated for two other field goals and two free throws to help Ripley to a 36-29 halftime lead.
“There are going to be points in the game where you have to make plays, and some of our younger players need to learn that,” Bates said. “Daisha Colom stepped up and hit some big shots tonight, and all of our young girls really stepped up.”
Can’t buy a stop
Ripley pushed its lead to as much as 14 points on a pair of occasions in the third quarter, but New Site pulled within 60-54 with 7 seconds left in the period on a Nikki Taylor layup.
“It just came down to defensive stops, and when we did, it seems we gave up offensive rebounds,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “I thought our offense did fine, we’ve just got to get stops.”
The flow of the game was much the same from the third to the fourth quarter, with New Site pulling within 80-74 with 31 seconds left on a Christin Pharr shot.
Chills led all scorers with 29 points for Ripley, while Morgan Pearson scored 28 for New Site.