New Albany (4-3) led 74-62 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter but twice Ripley (7-1) chipped away to pull within a point.
“You’ve got to give Ripley credit. You’re going to get 32 minutes, the absolute best effort they’ve got,” New Albany coach Brad Gray said. “That’s what we got.”
Malik Pearson’s two free throws got Ripley within 80-79 with 44.7 seconds left but Eric Chaney answered with a pair of free throws for New Albany.
Down four, Pearson connected on a 3-pointer but New Albany’s Jarel Lipsey made 1 of 2 from the line, then got a steal and Bernard Spight hit two free throws for an 86-82 lead with 10.1 seconds left.
“If we make our free throws down the stretch, it makes it a little more comfortable,” Gray said.
New Albany made 12 of 24 from the line in the fourth quarter. Ripley made 10 of 17.
Chaney had 25 for New Albany, which scored 29 points in the first quarter. Spight had 15, William Harding 13 and Harrison Harding 10.
“We kept battling but they kept us at arm’s length,” Ripley coach Grant Gardner said. “(Chaney) hit an 18-footer with two guys running at him. They hit some tough shots.”
Balanced Ripley got a game-high 26 from Pearson, 16 from Deion Palmer, 15 from Cannan Ratliff, 12 from Ralph Green and 10 from Anfernee Rutherford
(G) Ripley 65, New Albany 56: Ripley pulled away in the third after back-to-back steals. Zaida Cox’s bucket made it 50-41 and Jayla Chills’ three-point play put the Lady Tigers ahead 53-41. Chills had 26 for Ripley (3-1) and Jazmine Spears had a game-high 29 for New Albany (5-2).