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Vikings rally for victory over Parkersburg, 68-60

Ty Johnson’s double-double leads Ripley

Photo by Tyler Bennett Parkersburg’s Carson Dennis, right, goes up for a basket as Ripley’s Tobias Scholl defends during a high school boys basketball game Thursday. Ripley won, 68-60.

RIPLEY — Down 38-23 to the visiting Parkersburg Big Reds going into halftime Thursday, host Ripley needed a spark and senior big man Ty Johnson provided just that for the Vikings.

Scoring 18 out of his game-high 22 points in the second half, Johnson and fellow Viking senior teammates Tobias Scholl, Carter Casto and Isaac Roberston all finished in double figures to grind out a come-from-behind 68-60 win inside Ripley High School.

Improving to 5-4 on the year, it was Ripley’s first win against Parkersburg since the 2015-2016 season. It was also the first win against the Big Reds for second-year Ripley head coach Luke Parsons.

“We needed that win so bad, we played terrible in the second quarter. The kids came out and played hard. The only thing we did was change the defense,” Parsons said. “They did the rest on the offense, they just settled down, played their game, did what they were supposed to do and won the game for us.”

Unable to get into a routine in the first half, Johnson took advantage of his 6-foot-8 height and started attacking the rim from the paint. With PHS (3-5) starting out defensively in man in the second half, Johnson took advantage of the mismatch under the rim for open looks at the rim and later found Scholl, Casto and Roberston for open looks on the wings once the Big Reds started to double-team him in the post.

Along with his six assists, Johnson also finished with a game-high 16 rebounds as well as two steals, one block and only one missed free-throw in nine attempts.

“What helps Ty is everybody else contributes because when everybody else contributes they can’t double, they can’t just key on him. They got to play the rest of our guys and then Ty can have his heyday in there,” Parsons said. “He’s as good as anybody inside, he can put the ball on the floor, go around the guy, then go through the guy. He’s great when he when he’s playing like he’s supposed as he did in the second half.”

Scholl made three from behind the arc for a total of 17 points and Casto and Robertson each had 10.

Casto was all over the floor causing a ruckus on the defensive side of the ball, coming away with four steals and tipping multiple Big Red passes.

PHS’ Sam Potts scored the first points at the 7:24 mark on a triple, but the Vikings scored eight unanswered thanks to a bucket from Johnson and six points from Scholl that also saw him complete a three-point play to give Ripley an 8-2 lead with 5:27 to go in the first.

The Big Reds and Viking traded the lead off two 3s from Potts and a 3 from Fouty, but PHS took a 23-19 cushion after one thanks to 3s from Potts and Noah Umpleby to close out the first.

The second quarter was all Big Reds, as Julian Martin, Carson Dennis and Potts helped their team go up 15 going into the locker room, the largest lead of the night for either team. Ripley scored just four points in the second quarter.

In the third, the Vikings started chipping away at the PHS lead with Johnson scoring four points and finding an open Roberston, who banked in a mid-range jumper to make it 38-29, cutting the Big Red lead to single-digits for the time since 4:04 left in the second quarter. Parkersburg, however, once again made the lead double-digits, thanks to a Potts bucket and a 3 from Umpleby to extend the lead to 14 with 3:42 left in the third.

Closing out the third on a 12-point run, Ripley made it only a two-point game after playing three, thanks to four points from Johnson and a last-second 3 from Scholl.

To start the fourth, Johnson scored under the basket off an inbound pass and Robertson hit a 3 to give Ripley its first lead of the second half.

PHS and Ripley traded the lead throughout the beginning moments of the final period, however, it was all Ripley after that, outscoring the Big Reds 25-15 in the fourth.

Johnson put the final nail in the coffin, sending home a two-handed slam to give the Vikings a 63-56 lead with just 1:08 left to play.

Leading the way in the scoring department for the Big Reds was Umpleby with 20 points and Potts was close behind with 19. Dennis had seven points from the bench.

“We are a very good team if the game is moving. If the game is going up and down the court where you got the shots free-flowing, that’s what we do well,” Big Reds head coach Bryan Crislip said. “If we start missing shots, what happens is in our defense gets bad and we’re not as intense and that’s the bottom line. In the second half, they did a good job. We are so afraid of losing. We have to have the mindset that we can win and have that mindset that we will get better. It’s 100% my fault. I got to do a better job putting us in the right positions, and over time we’ll get better.

Both teams resume action next week as the Big Reds play host to Preston on Wednesday, and Ripley will travel Thursday to Parkersburg to take on the Crusaders.

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