RIPLEY– The Tishomingo County Lady Braves showed why they are considered one of the best teams in 4A last week as they beat North Pontotoc 64-36 in the Division 1-4A Tournament final on Friday. Shemiah Hadley led the Lady Vikings with 18 points. The Lady Vikings will host Northeast Lauderdale in the 4A playoffs this week.
“When you let a team like them jump out on you like that it’s hard to make a push and get back in it because of how talented they are,” said North Pontotoc coach Matt Waldrop. “They outhustled us, and it looked like we were hoping that they would give it to us at times and they didn’t.”
Anna Brooke Sullivan hit a 3-pointer early in the first quarter to give North a 3-2 lead. Sullivan finished with 11 points for the Lady Vikings. The Lady Braves answered with a 12-0 run. Hadley knocked down a lay up to make it 14-5. Tishomingo County closed out the first quarter by outscoring North 7-2 to lead 21-7. There were a combined 10 points scored in the second quarter, and the Lady Braves led 25-13 at halftime.
Hadley and Sullivan both scored 4 points for the Lady Vikings, but Tishomingo County continued to pour it on, getting to the basket with ease. The Lady Braves outscored North 19-10 in the third quarter and 20-13 in the fourth quarter to cement themselves as the tournament champion.
North Pontotoc 44, Ripley 40
After a first-round bye, the Lady Vikings rallied past Ripley 44-40 in overtime last Thursday to advance to the Division 1-4A championship game.
“It’s hard to get shots because it’s so sticky,” Hadley said of Ripley’s defense. “But we made a way.”
Ripley (12-9), the reigning 4A state champ, doesn’t have as many offensive weapons as it did last season. So it has to rely heavily on defense, and that worked for most of the game.
It was 35-28 with 2:30 left in the fourth when North Pontotoc finally found some offensive life. Gracie Corley banked in a 3-pointer with 1:50 left, and 20 seconds later Hadley made a layup.
And then Maddie Guerin – who hadn’t scored since the first quarter – converted a four-point play with 27 seconds left to put the Lady Vikings ahead 37-36 – their first lead since 2-0. A free throw Ripley's Sydney Flake sent the game into overtime.
Ripley briefly regained the lead in overtime at 40-39, but then Hadley hit two free throws, and North Pontotoc closed it out.
“A lot of things didn’t go right. But we rode with the same group down the stretch, and they found a way to win,” North coach Matt Waldrop said.
Guerin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Hadley had 12 boards.
Amy Rodgers led Ripley with 10 points.
“You’ve got to play tough in those last few minutes and protect the basketball. That’s not a time for us to be loose with the basketball.” – Ripley coach Steve Willey