By Brandon Speck
BIGGERSVILLE – Ripley didn’t get a gift it wanted Saturday, but it may be a lesson that delivers bigger presents in February and March.
The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season, 81-56, to DeSoto Central in the BIGG Christmas Classic.
“We weren’t able to establish anything inside the lane,” Ripley coach Grant Gardner said. “They got us frustrated. You hate to take those kinds of losses, but if we’ll take it and learn from this, we’ll be a lot better team come Monday than when we drove up here today.”
Ripley (8-1) played without starter Malik Pearson, who hurt his knee against New Albany on Friday and will have an MRI Monday.
The Tigers trailed by 15 at the half and never could key a run. DeSoto big man Tavarus McGlaun scored 23 points for the Jaguars (6-4), one of five in double figures. Jaguars head coach Ron Wilson played for Gardner at Blue Mountain.
Cannan Ratliff scored 18 for Ripley. Cody Shelton and Isiah Howard had 14 each.
Booneville breaks away late
Booneville’s fourth-quarter defense led to a 60-39 win over Blue Mountain.
Blue Mountain cut what was a 20-point lead in the second quarter to 41-37 on Taije Berry’s free throw to open the third quarter. But the Cougars scored only one more basket in the quarter, a 19-2 run.
“Anytime you hold them to a low-total period, you’ve done a good job defensively,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve got to get better at, defensively especially, but we forced some bad shots.”
The lead went back to double digits on Joseph Caver’s lay-in after an offensive rebound. Caver had a team-high 17 points, four 3-pointers in the second quarter.
Cameron Miller had 16 and Jack Nichols 15 for Booneville (7-3).
Blue Mounatin (6-4) point guard Ismael Ruedas scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the third-quarter rally. Jacob Girley scored 14.
“Heavy legs, but that’s no excuse,” Blue Mountain coach David Mason said. “We’ve got to man up and play. We were talking about good possession, good possession, don’t force it. Then we have two turnovers back-to-back and they score. And that really hurts you.”