By Gene Phelps

Special to the Gazette

INGOMAR – Nathan Weeden was a welcomed force – scoring and defending – down the stretch last season for Ingomar’s basketball team.

The senior guard hasn’t missed a beat during this young season. In Tuesday’s 57-38 win against Class 4A Ripley, he scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the 1A Falcons.

“Nathan seems like he does pretty well in big games,” Ingomar coach Jonathan Ashley said. “We stay on him about bringing that effort against everybody. That’s the challenge for him. When he does that, when he plays on edge, he’s a pretty good basketball player. When he backs off he’s average.

“We try to get him to play on edge. I thought he did an excellent job tonight.”

Ingomar improved to 3-0 while Ripley saw its record drop to 1-1.

Weeden scored 11 of his points in the first half, including a 3-pointer from the baseline, to give Ingomar an early 10-4 lead. The Falcons led 32-18 at halftime.

“I’m working hard in the weightroom, going hard in practice every day,” Weeden said.

Ashley was also pleased with his team’s defensive effort.

“I’m sure we’ll see some things we need to go back and fix,” he said. “Anytime you defend it and don’t give up 40, you must be doing all right.”

Ingomar’s Zach Shugars, a guard/forward, continues to improve as he comes back from offseason knee surgery (ACL). He scored a team-high 17 against the Tigers.

“He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever coached,” Ashley said. “There was no doubt in my mind that he would be back and be effective. I’d say he’s 80, 85 percent from the mental aspect of trusting it. Hopefully, before too much longer, we’ll get him back at 100 percent.”

Falcons forward Clayton Stanford added 15 points, seven of those coming in the fourth quarter.

Ripley point guard Jesus Ruedas scored 13 points and Asa Howard added 10.

(G) Ripley 64, Ingomar 27

The Lady Falcons, who started three sophomores and a seventh grader, struggled against the 4A state finalists.

Senior post player Sanaa Finley led Ingomar, now 1-2, with 11 points. Mia Skelton, a freshman, added seven.

Amelia Hatch scored 20 and Siarra Jackson 14 for 3-0 Ripley.

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