Scrappy Lady Tigers find a way to beat defending 2A champs

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

RIPLEY – This time, Ripley played ugly and won.
Lady Tigers all-state guard Jayla Chills was held to seven points, but her teammates took up the offensive slack Tuesday to lead Ripley to a 55-47 victory against defending Class 2A state champion New Site.
Last week, Ripley lost a not-so-pretty encounter by two points to Pontotoc, last year’s 4A state champion.
“I was disappointed in our overall effort; we got out-played,” Ripley coach Katie Bates said. “New Site did a good job making us play their game.”
Ripley (8-2), however, gained the winning edge with its defensive play, in spurts, and its rebounding. The Lady Tigers used their full-court pressure and the turnovers it created – nine by New Site in the first half – to take a 29-28 halftime lead.
“We had trouble getting the ball in,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “They did a good job denying us and we didn’t do a good job getting open.”
New Site (11-2) was powered by guard Christy Clark, who scored a game-high 26.
Matavia Cox scored 13, Zaida Cox 11 and Daisha Colom 11 to lead the Lady Tigers. Colom scored six of her points – on layups and putbacks – in the fourth quarter to help her team pull away.
New Site cut Ripley’s lead to three points twice in the final quarter – the last time on a 3-point play by Clark – but got no closer.
“We got the advantage we needed in the fourth quarter battling them on the boards,” Bates said.
Both teams face tough tests this weekend in New Site’s Lady Royal Rumble. New Site plays No. 6 Gulfport and Ocean Springs while Ripley plays Olive Branch and No. 10 Horn Lake.
(B) Ripley 70, New Site 53: Canna Ratliff scored 14 points and had six assists to lead the Tigers (11-2) past the Royals.
Anfernee Rutherford grabbed 10 rebounds and had a blocked shot for the winners. Deion Palmer added 12 points and Malik Pearson had 11 points and six steals.
Dustin George scored 15 for New Site.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com