By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
It’s going to come as no surprise when Ripley senior basketball player Acie Vance drops 50 in a game.
The 6-foot-1, 173-pound guard has already come close to doing so, scoring 40-plus points in three of his games this season. He tallied 47 points against Class 4A state-championship contender New Albany and dropped 44 against Division 1-3A rival Corinth.
Vance clearly began the 2010-11 season in mid-season form as he poured in 42 in his team’s second game of the season, an 86-52 win over Pine Grove on Nov. 16.
“I worked on it a whole lot this summer,” the Ripley senior said about improving his shooting and the results he’s seen through the first month of the season. “I mostly improved on my pull-up jumper.
“But I think it’s the way Coach (Grant Gardner) has us playing. It’s better players around me and I don’t have to force anything.”
Although, Gardner has to credit the previous coaches at Ripley for Vance’s shooting close to 55 percent from the field this season.
Gardner can’t help to smile when he sees Vance go off in games. His standout guard poured in five consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of last Tuesday’s 93-81 loss to Corinth.
Not to mention, Vance hit a 3 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. So, make that six 3’s on consecutive possessions for Ripley.
“That game is sort of becoming a legend around these parts,” Gardner said this week. “It was a fun game to be in.”
Vance is not only Ripley’s leading scorer, but also leads the team in assists (36 through his team’s first eight games). As opposing teams try to limit Vance’s scoring with gimmick defenses such as a box and one, the Ripley guard will often get the ball to his open teammates.
Colleges have certainly been taking notice of Vance, who is averaging 30.5 points per game this season. The 2009-10 Daily Journal All-Area second-team selection has received interest from Alabama, Florida, Middle Tennessee State, Murray State, University of Texas at El Paso and Wichita State.