Hunt, Ruedas

Ripley's Sentavius Hunt (right) and Jesus Ruedas (back) apply defensive pressure to Booneville's Bryton Smith in the 63-60 loss to the Blue Devils last Tuesday, Nov. 26. 

BOONEVILLE • Ripley could not have asked for a better start on the road against a good Booneville squad. Senior Cam Rucker poured in 15 points in the first and the Tigers connected on six three-point shots to take a commanding 26-13 lead into the second quarter. But their hot start was not enough as the Blue Devils rallied to come back and win 63-60. 

The Blue Devils' comeback started in the second quarter where they quickly erased the 13-point advantage with their shooting from beyond the arc. Ripley led 30-18 after an Alex Prather layup with 6:17 left on the clock. From there, Booneville's Bryton Smith caught fire. Following a three-point make from the Blue Devils, Smith buried four three-pointers in a row in the midst of a 17-0 run where Booneville took the 35-30 lead. Asa Howard stopped the bleeding for the Tigers with a three-pointer with 50 seconds left to cut the lead down to two entering halftime. 

Howard knocked down his third three of the game early in the third quarter as the Tigers recaptured the lead at 37-36. Booneville quickly answered with a bucket and a nine-point lead before Jesus Ruedas was fouled on the made basket and added the free throw with six seconds left as the Tigers carried a little momentum into the fourth down just 51-45.

Ruedas sparked a 6-0 run early on in the fourth to cut Booneville's lead to 53-51. As Booneville stretched their lead back to 56-51, Prather scored on an offensive rebound putback with 4:36 left to get back within three. The Blue Devils answered with another bucket before a jumper from Howard and a three-pointer from Rucker tied the game at 58-58. Two tacky foul calls on Ruedas, including a charge called on the senior on a made basket, fouled him out of the game and the Blue Devils went on to build a 61-58 lead. Howard scored on a layup with 22 seconds left, cutting the lead to 61-60. Booneville's Tre McKinney knocked down a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left to earn the three-point lead back. Howard and Rucker each had chances to tie the game in the final seconds with their shots rolling off the rim. 

The Tigers bounced back with a dominating 70-29 win over Middleton (TN) last Saturday, Nov. 30. Ruedas led the charge with 16 points. Howard added 14 points and sophomore LaTrell Vance scored 10 points in the second half. Ripley sits at 5-2 before they begin Div. 1-4A play on Friday at North Pontotoc.

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