By Garth Shanklin
For what probably was not the first time in the 2015-2016 season, the Ripley Lady Jays’ basketball team scrimmaged against an opponent wearing a blue jersey.
This time, however, there was a major difference: the jersey was not worn by a Ripley player. Instead, the Lady Jays travelled to Mariemont High School to scrimmage both the Mariemont Lady Warriors and the Amelia Lady Barons.
While all three teams having blue primary jerseys could be confusing at times, the color crisis was nowhere near as confusing as Mariemont’s defense. In the roughly 36 minutes combined the first time the Lady Warriors squared off against the Lady Jays and the Lady Barons, they allowed a total of five points. Ripley struggled against the Lady Warriors, failing to make a shot in the 18 minute quarter. The team was outscored by the Warriors 16-1, with their only point came when the team was fouled while attempting a shot. They were given one point and a chance at a second with a free-throw, but the free-throw was no good.
If there is any consolation to be had in the performance against the Mariemont, it was that Amelia fared much, much worse. The Lady Barons struggled to even attempt a shot, much like the Lady Jays. Ripley found themselves blanketed by Mariemont defenders, who were adept at getting their hands in passing lanes and forcing turnovers. Ripley’s defense played well on transition, however, and Mariemont was forced to settle for contested shots. Amelia did not play as well in transition, which is likely why they “lost” the scrimmage to the Lady Warriors 28-4.
Ripley head coach Chris Coleman said he was surprised with his defense’s performance during the scrimmage, but in a good way.
“I thought defensively we were further along than I thought we’d be,” Coleman said. “They were jamming cutters a little bit better at this point in the season than normally. We also rebounded pretty well for ourselves.”
The team’s offense picked things up when they squared off against the Amelia Lady Barons, scoring 11 points in that effort. Unlike most of their attempts against Mariemont, passes were actually able to find their intended target without being knocked away by a defender. The team’s shooting improved as well, but it still is not quite where it needs to be, according to Coleman.
“We’ve got to get better offensively,” Coleman said. “That’s going to be our downfall. We have to find a way to score somehow or another.”
Luckily for the Lady Jays, they still have time to work things out. The team travels to Hillsboro Monday, November 9 for another scrimmage, this time against the Lady Indians. After that, they head to North Adams High School for the Southern Hills Athletic Conference preview night where they’ll take on the host Lady Devils. After one final scrimmage on Wednesday, November 18, the team opens the regular season with a home contest against the Georgetown Lady G-Men Saturday, November 21st at 1 p.m.