WALNUT • No. 5 Ripley’s girls flexed their muscles in a rematch with No. 10 Pine Grove for the Tippah County Tournament title on Saturday night.
The Lady Tigers (17-2) poured in 44 points from inside the paint as they knocked out the Lady Panthers 52-39.
“I think we looked like an experienced team tonight,” said Ripley head coach Steve Willey. “They are as good as a defensive team as we will see and I thought we did a good job with the opportunities that we had.”
The Lady Tigers started the game on a 5-0 run, after their only 3-pointer of the game stripped the net by Skylar Flake. From there, Siarra Jackson began Ripley’s dominance inside the lane. Jackson scored two buckets down low to give Ripley a 10-1 lead midway through the quarter, signaling what was to come.
Jackson finished with a game-high 21 points.
“We tried to get into our high-low game. We have a couple of ways to get into it,” claimed Willey on Jackson’s success. “She did a good job with her back to the basket.”
Ripley built a 20-9 lead midway through the second after a 6-0 run between their two senior guards – Ameyla Hatch and Summer Kirkman.
Willey praised both Hatch and Kirkman’s efforts on both ends of the floor. Hatch notched 14 points in the win. Kirkman added nine points and held Pine Grove’s leading scorer Loren Elliott to just 10 points on three field goals.
Pine Grove (14-7) got as close as 10 points to the lead early in the third but Jackson’s eight points in the third pushed Ripley’s lead back to 16 entering the fourth.
Karlie Rogers led Pine Grove with 16 points.
Turning Point: Ripley took control of the game on a 6-0 run from Summer Kirkman and Amelya Hatch in the second quarter to build a double-digit lead that was held the rest of the game.
Point Maker: Siarra Jackson scored 21 points, with 18 coming in the painted area.
Talking Point: “It’s really hard to make runs against a really good defensive team like that. They speed you up. They controlled it from the tip,” Pine Grove head coach Katie Bates said.