Tigers fall back, then roar away

BOONEVILLE – After a jump start, Ripley got going in Tuesday night’s 82-63 win against Aberdeen in the Booneville Tournament.
Anthony McDonald’s 14 first period points helped Aberdeen to a 21-9 lead and helped Ripley realize it needed to start its engine.
“Sometimes I think we need jumper cables to start the game,” Ripley coach Trent Adair said. “We’re notoriously slow starters. We were doing everything in the first few minutes that we talked about not to do, letting Aberdeen get up and down in transition.”
Thanks to a 22-8 run that stretched from the first period to the second, the Tigers clawed back, pulling ahead for good on Ryshaun Williamson’s 3-pointer for a 30-29 lead with 2 minutes, 3 seconds to play in the half.
Ripley never trailed afterward and took a 36-30 halftime lead on two Acie Vance free throws. The lead went to 79-57 on another Williamson basket with 1:33 to play in the game.
Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said his team lost some of its momentum after subbing in a new group with a 12-point lead.
A 5-9 start to the season isn’t where Hazzle expected his group to be in late December.
“We subbed some guys in, lost our defensive responsibilities and just kind of got out of sync,” Hazzle said. “We had a few turnovers and they capitalized on it like a good team does. We go up and down the bench just trying to get a group in there to play as a team and right now we’re just not where we ought to be.”
Ripley improved to 11-4 on the season, getting a game-high 21 points from Tyyon Rutherford, 17 from Vance, 14 from Williamson and 13 from Rashid March.
Adair said handling Aberdeen’s athleticism was key and slowing the game down helped his guys do so.
“We weren’t converting shots and when you don’t make shots, especially long ones like we were shooting, it’s run-outs, and against them, it’s twice as bad because they’re so athletic,” he said. “That’s the best game we’ve played all year, by far.”
Holly outduels the hosts
Holly Springs jumped out to a 30-14 lead by not allowing Booneville to reach double digits in either of the first two period of a 60-44 win to close the Booneville Tournament.
Darius Dowdy scored a game-high 21 points for the Hawks, now 13-1 on the season, its lone loss to Olive Branch.
Johnathan Bownes added 17 points for the Hawks.
For Booneville, fresh off of Monday’s wild 74-71 win against Aberdeen, Bo Brown’s 10 points were a team-high. The Blue Devils fell to 8-5 on the season.

Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal