Proceeds from event go to benefit Wendy Blackburn –
By Wade Linville –
Emotions ran high at Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington High School on Nov. 18, as the RULH Blue Jays hosted the Western Brown Broncos for a preseason OHSAA Foundation Game with proceeds from the event going to benefit Wendy (Franklin) Blackburn, a life-long Ripley resident who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Not only did the event give Ripley residents the opportunity to come out and show their support for Wendy Blackburn and her family as they face such trying times, but it also gave local basketball fans the opportunity to see this year’s RULH and Western Brown High School boys basketball teams in action with the official start of the 2016-17 just around the corner.
It was the home-standing Ripley Blue Jays winning the junior varsity contest 32-29, but in the varsity match-up it was the Western Brown Broncos pulling off a narrow 55-49 win.
“We had moments where we played well. We had some good trips down the court and some bad trips, but that’s expected this early in the season,” Western Brown head coach Greg Foster said of his Broncos’ performance in Friday’s Foundation Game.
The Broncos would rise to an 18-8 in the first half of the game and would lead the entire way, expanding their lead to double figures at some points throughout the night. But the determined Blue Jays, who were outsized in nearly every position on the court, kept battling back.
The Broncos would hold a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Western Brown’s 6’3” senior postman Hunter O’Hara racked up six of the Broncos’ 12 first-quarter points.
The Broncos went on to outscore the Jays 17-15 in the second quarter to hold a 29-23 halftime lead with Ripley senior Dalton Moran burying a shot from close range to end scoring in the second quarter.
The Broncos upped their lead to 35-26 with a bucket by O’Hara early in the third quarter.
Moran managed to sink one-of-two attempts from the foul line and drain a field goal from close range for three third-quarter points, while also contributing buckets for the Jays in the third quarter of play were sophomores Alex King, Jaki Royal, and senior point guard Laymon Marshall.
The Broncos also had well-rounded scoring in the third quarter with buckets coming from O’Hara, junior Wyatt Fischer, senior guard Logan Nickell, senior forward Eli Crall, junior guard Carson Eyre, and junior forward Jack Finn.
At the end of the third quarter, it was the Broncos leading 42-32 after outscoring the Jays 13-9 in the frame.
The Jays outscored the Broncos 17-13 in the fourth quarter with seven fourth-quarter points coming from junior guard Brian Dunn in addition to a three-pointer from Ryan Harney, a field goal and free throw by Moran, and two-point field goals coming from Ryan Harney and Peyton Fyffe.
Despite the gutsy late-game rally, the Jays would trail by six when the final buzzer sounded.
Leading the way in scoring for the Broncos was O’Hara with 12 points. Eyre contributed nine points in the win. Nickell, Finn, Crall, and 6’3” senior postman Joe Sams all finished with seven points each.
Leading the Jays in scoring was Dunn with 12 points.
Moran ended the night with eight points, while Harney and King finished with six points apiece.
RULH also held its annual Night at the Nest celebration over the weekend, as Blue Jay fever has struck Ripley once again with excitement brewing over another season of high school hoops.