By David Wheeler | NEMS Daily Journal
RIPLEY – The Ripley Lady Tigers are still searching for team chemistry for the 2011-12 season.
In the meantime, a few well-placed minutes of solid play is doing quiet nicely for the Lady Tigers.
Ripley improved to 11-1 on the season Saturday with a hard-fought 58-43 victory over the Corinth Lady Warriors in action in the Ripley Challenge.
“We really are inexperienced,” said head coach Katie Bates, who lost five players from last season’s Class 3A State Championship squad. “Tonight, we were in a lot of foul trouble in the first half.
“Then in the second half, we got back to what we wanted to do defensively, got some easy shots, and built off of that.”
With the inside presence of center Erin Frazier, and with help off the bench from Stennett Smith, the Lady Warriors only trailed 26-24 at the half.
But a well-timed first two minutes of the third quarter by Ripley, aided by baskets from Jayla Chills and Matavia Cox, pushed the Lady Tigers to a bit of a comfort zone and a 31-24 lead.
Corinth kept battling, and in the fourth quarter was within 43-38 following a Sadie Johnson basket. But down the stretch, the veteran presence of Chills and Bella Ruckes proved to be the difference.
Chills paced Ripley with 25 points, while Frazier totaled 16 for Corinth.
(B) Corinth 74, Nettleton 45: Another one-loss team used a strong second half to its advantage.
Corinth (8-1) outscored Nettleton 28-10 in the third quarter to build a comfortable 64-33 lead.
Off the bench, sophomore Raheem Sorrell led Corinth in scoring with 21, while Denetrius Thomas led Nettleton with 13.