RIPLEY - Struggling to score points during the first 16 minutes of action veteran Ripley head coach Craig Harmon had a simple message for his Vikings during halftime of their showdown with Jackson County rival Ravenswood.
"He (coach Harmon) told us that we needed to set our picks harder," senior Kade Harrison explained. "We started doing that in the second half and we got people open and they made shots."
That and the Vikings defense did a number on Ravenswood scoring leader Jake Martin, holding the senior to 14 points below his seasonal scoring average.
"Every game is an important one for us," continued Harrison. "But, this one gives us two wins in a row and maybe will get us rolling."
Ripley, now 3-8 with a home encounter versus Shady Spring on Monday, looked anything like a team on a roll in the first half as the Red Devils forced them into numerous rushed shots and took an 18-13 lead to the locker rooms at the intermission.
The game continued to be a see saw affair until the Vikings went on a 7-4 run over the final 3:23 of the period to take a 32-29 lead into the final eight minutes of play. An Isaac Crow lay-in off of a Riley Heatherington feed had knotted the game at 25 with 3:37 showing on the clock.
However, on its next two possessions Ravenswood was whistled for a foul-the second one a technical foul called on Martin, who came into the game averaging 23 points per contest.
Harrison went to the free throw line to shoot the technical, missing both, but on the ensuing inbounds senior Drew Harpold took a pass from freshman Jamison Hunt and drilled his second triple of the night to give the hosts a 28-25 advantage with 3:15 on the clock.
Ravenswood answered on buckets by Crow, who scored a team-high 11, and Rhys Jelich, to regain the lead, 29-28, with 2:18 remaining in the frame. Those, however, also would be the final points for the visitors in the quarter.
A layup by Harrison, who tied Harpold for game-scoring honors with 16 points, and a lay-in by reserve Chase Johnson just before the quarter ended gave the Vikings a three-point, 32-29, lead heading into the fourth.
A quarter that belonged to the Vikings.
Johnson opened the quarter by going 1-for-2 at the charity stripe to give Ripley a four-point, 33-29, lead. Ravenswood, which plays host to LKC North Division rival Doddridge County on Tuesday, fought back to knot the game at 33 on a triple by Heatherington and a free throw by Heath Burgess.
But, that would be the final tie of the game as Ripley went on runs of 8-2 and 12-6 over the final seven minutes to pick up the victory.