By Wade Linville –
The Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays battled back from a 30-26 halftime deficit to capture a 63-61 victory over the Peebles Indians on Jan. 20 at Ripley.
Leading the way in scoring for the Jays in the Jan. 20 win was sophomore guard Jaki Royal, who racked up 20 points. It was clutch free throw shooting that sealed the Ripley victory, as they managed to sink eight-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to held them maintain a narrow lead over the Indians.
Royal connected on five-of-seven free throw attempts in the fourth period. Ripley junior Ryan Harney drained two-of-two attempts from the foul line in the final frame, while Deaton buried one-of-two attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth.
“Good team win again,” said Ripley head coach Marty Adams following his Jays’ win over Peebles. (We) had a little let-down in the second quarter to give up the lead, but were able to come out in third and gain lead back. After we got lead back, we never trailed again, although Peebles would make it close. Some clutch free throws in fourth was difference.”
While the Jays refused to give up their slight advantage in the second half by stepping up to answer the call on both ends of the court, they would never lead by more than five in the second half of play.
Also reaching double figures in scoring for the Jays was Harney, who drained five field goals from inside the arc and two three-pointers to finish with 16 points.
Ripley senior Laymon Marshall contributed in the win with seven points, while junior guard Brian Dunn also ended the night with seven points.
Leading all scorers was Lynchburg’s Tanner Arey with 25 points, while Lynchburg’s Camron Gordley also shot for double figures to finish with 23 points.
Ripley junior Josiah Staggs shot for five points in Friday’s win, while teammates Alex King and Deaton rounded out the Jays’ scoring with four points apiece.
The Jays held a 20-16 lead at the end of the first quarter with Royal racking up eight first-period points which included a three-pointer at the buzzer, Staggs coming through with three points, Harney shooting for five points, and buckets also coming from Dunn and Marshall.
The Indians returned in the second quarter to outscore the Jays 14-6 to hold a four-point lead at halftime.
The Jays heated up again coming off halftime break, outscoring the Indians 20-11 in the third period to take a 46-41 lead.
The Indians went on to outscore the Jays 20-17 in the fourth frame, but it was the Ripley varsity squad holding on for the narrow two-point win.
The Jays upped their conference record to 5-3 and stood in third place in SHAC Division I standings with Friday’s win behind the first place Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs (7-1) and the now 6-2 Peebles Indians.
The Jays rose to an overall record of 8-5 on the season with the win over the Indians but dropped to an overall record of 8-6 after falling to the West Union Dragons on Jan. 24.
The Jays were scheduled to be back in action Friday, Jan. 27, as they ventured to Fayetteville-Perry High School to face the 3-11 Rockets in a SHAC contest.
PHS 16 14 11 20 – 61
RULH 20 6 20 17 – 63
Peebles (61): Arey 8 7-8 25, C. Gordley 9 5-8 23, Robinson 2 0-0 4, Parrett 1 0-0 3, Stivers 1 0-0 2, Browing 0 2-3 2, L. Gordley 1 0-0 2. Three-pointers: Arey 2, Parrett 1. Team: 22 14-19 61.
Ripley (63): Royal 6 6-9 20, Harney 7 0-0 16, Marshall 3 1-2 7, Dunn 2 2-2 7, Staggs 2 1-2 5, King 2 0-0 4, Deaton 1 2-5 4. Three-pointers: Harney 2, Royal 2, Dunn 1. Team: 23 12-20 63.