NEW ALBANY • Ripley used its escape Hatch on Friday night.
With post standout Siarra Jackson finding points hard to come by, Amelya Hatch came up big in the second half as No. 4-ranked Ripley earned a 50-39 win over No. 8 Tishomingo County in the Division 1-4A tournament final.
The senior point guard scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to help the Lady Tigers pull away.
“Coach (Steve) Willey said, ‘We need the ball in your hands, and we need you to take over.’ So that’s what I tried to do,” Hatch said.
It was a 16-16 game at halftime, with Tishomingo County (22-8) putting its focus on stopping Jackson, who averages over 20 points per game.
Hatch opened the third quarter with a runner and a 3-pointer, and she scored nine points in the period. Ripley (27-2) led 31-22 entering the fourth.
“Amelya, she’s got the experience,” Willey said. “She’s been there, done that.”
Jackson finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
“Even though Siarra got covered and her shots got taken away, she still got to the free throw line, got some putbacks. So she did a good job, too,” Willey said.
Ripley shot 16 of 32 from the field (50%) while holding the Lady Braves to 12 of 39 (30.8%).
Katie Powers led Tishomingo County with 15 points, but she shot just 5 of 14 from the floor. And scoring threat Maura Nunley was held to eight points.
“We knew that if Nunley got hot, she was going to keep shooting and shooting and shooting,” Hatch said. “So we first guarded her, and we stood back on (Powers) so she wouldn’t drive in.”
Summer Kirkman had 10 points and three steals for Ripley. Her jumper pushed the Lady Tigers’ lead to 40-28, and then she assisted on a Hatch layup for a 14-point edge.
Turning Point: Ripley went on a 10-2 run in the third quarter to open up a 31-20 lead.
Point Maker: Hatch shot 6 of 11 from the field and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Talking Point: “They took away Nunley, and we had no answer. None.” – Tishomingo County coach Brian Middleton