By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal
NEW SITE – The Ripley Lady Tigers are more than used to bumping, running, and pressing. It’s how they’ve won more than their share of games the past few seasons.
The undefeated Horn Lake Eagles are no strangers to the style either, using it effectively on Saturday to beat the Lady Tigers 55-48 in action in the New Site Royal Rumble.
“I’m proud of the way we played,” Ripley coach Katie Bates said. “We kind of let them get away at the end.
“It’s the first time this season we’ve played a team as physical as us.”
Ripley (9-3) used a pair of baskets by Matavia Cox off the bench to only trail 17-15 at the end of the period.
The second period saw Horn Lake (11-0) take advantage of its physical play. The Lady Eagles closed the quarter on an 8-2 run, taking a 33-25 halftime lead.
“We had a lot of turnovers, and a lot of easy shots that could have cost us the game,” Bates said. “I think we had 16 or 17 turnovers in the second half, which could have been the difference in the game.”
Sure enough, Horn Lake’s pressure kept Ripley at bay in the third quarter, as the Lady Eagles maintained the lead at 45-35.
One last push
But the Lady Tigers pulled together a little run in the final eight minutes.
Post player Daisha Colon scored three point early in the period, and fellow inside player Jada Rich converted on a drive to the basket with 3 minutes, 39 seconds to play to pull Ripley within 50-46.
But Brittany Grant responded for the Lady Eagles with a three point play and two more free throws to ice the contest.
“We have heart and tenacity, and I like how they showed it,” Horn Lake coach Janna Lyons said.
Grant paced Horn Lake with 21 points, while Cox hit 15 to lead Ripley.
Ripley is in the middle of a brutal stretch, already having played Pontotoc, Tupelo, and Olive Branch. Sandwiched around the Tippah County tourney, Ripley still has Center Hill and top-ranked Southaven.