By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
RIPLEY – Ripley, last week’s giant-killer, shook off a weather-forced six-day layoff and the absence of starting guard Jayla Chills, to defeat Kossuth, 57-45, Thursday in its Division 1-3A opener.
The Lady Tigers (15-4, 1-0) beat the state’s No. 1-ranked team, Southaven, last Saturday in the Domino’s Shootout at Hickory Flat.
Ripley, ranked No. 1 in Northeast Mississippi by the Daily Journal, also played without the talented Chills, who was suspended for one game.
“I’m not one to make excuses,” Ripley coach Katie Bates said. “We should bring it no matter what. As a big of a win as (Southaven) was, it wasn’t that big in the scheme of things.
“We’ve got to get to where we don’t celebrate what happened Saturday.”
Senior post player Daisha Colom stepped up in the paint for the Lady Tigers with another inside player, Jada Rich, in foul trouble. She scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
Zeida Cox added 12 and Rich had 9 for Ripley.
“They let us bump and bang in the post and (Colom) came through when we needed her,” Bates said. “She’s steady and consistent.”
Kossuth (12-8, 1-1) committed 14 turnovers in the first half and fell behind 29-13 at halftime. The Lady Aggies played most of the half without point guard Rachel Winters, who was sidelined with three fouls.
“Ripley’s pressure is relentless,” Kossuth coach Rick Howell said. “We had a lot of trouble. We missed a lot of shots and had a lot of turnovers in the first half. Give Ripley’s defense the credit.”
The Lady Aggies rallied in the third quarter to cut Ripley’s lead to as low as 10 and exited the period trailing 42-31.
Parish Tice, who led Kossuth with a game-high 15 points, scored 10 of those in the second half.
“We knew Kossuth was not going to give up,” Bates said. “Basketball’s a game of runs and we made shots when we had to.”
(B) Ripley 81, Kossuth 63: Deion Palmer and Cord Thomas scored 20 points each to lead the Tigers (14-6, 1-0) past the Aggies.
Ripley led 42-27 at halftime and maintained its 15-point lead through the third quarter.
Kossuth was led by Josh Whitaker with 19 points.