Lady Devils’ Brittany Stout (#12) and Rylee Copas (#10) battle for a rebound during girls basketball action at Ripley High School last Thursday night. North Adams suffered their first loss in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, falling to the Lady Jays by a final score of 45-43.
Mark Carpenter/The People’s Defender
North Adams point guard Taylor Gast goes to the left hand as her shot is contested by Ripley’s Kelci Bowling (#34) during last Thursday night’s game in Ripley, won by the Lady Jays 45-43.
Controversial ending results in first league loss for Lady Devils Free throws at 1.1 seconds give Ripley 45-43 win
To say that emotions were running high in the Ripley High School gymnasium last Thursday night would be a serious understatement. Two of the top girls basketball squads in southern Ohio came together in what turned out to be quite a memorable affair, one fans will be talking about for a long while.
The North Adams Lady Devils, undefeated in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play, visited the Ripley Lady Jays and the result was one of the more exciting girls games of the 2012-13 season. The game came down to the final play and a controversial ending, depending on which side of the gym you were seated. After the Lady Devils tied the score with 15 seconds left, Ripley's Niya Royal would sink a pair of free throws with 1.1 ticks remaining to give the home team the 45-43 victory.
"It was a tough, defensive game," said North Adams head coach Rob Davis. "Ripley did a great job executing their game plan. We battled all night, but struggled to run our offense effectively."
After Ripley had taken the junior high and JV games played beforehand, the varsity Lady Devils were looking to salvage at least one win for the night and keep their unblemished SHAC record intact. In the early going, it looked as though they might do just that as they busted out of the gates with the game's first eight points. The first North Adams possession of the game resulted in an Emily Fite basket and on the next possession, Fite followed up with a three-point play. To make matters worse for the home team, the next trip down for North Adams saw Brittany Stout bury a three-pointer that made it 8-0.
The Lady Jays finally got on the board on a basket by senior Brianna Payne, who may have played the game of her life, especially on the defensive end as she spent most of the game shadowing Fite and held the North Adams star to just four field goals and 13 points.
With North Adams up 10-2, the Jays began a comeback, with center Tori Boone getting five quick points before a hoop by Mikayla Jodrey stretched the early North Adams lead to 12-7. A bucket in the paint by Karly Boerger put the Lady Devils up 14-8, before the teams exchanged three-point goals, Ripley getting a trey from sophomore Haley Payne and North Adams one from Rylee Copas. A score by Jodrey closed out the first quarter with the Lady Devils on top 19-13.
Much like North Adams had begun the first period on a roll, it was the Lady Jays who took control early in the second. A three from Brianna Payne sandwiched between a pair of free throws drew the Jays within one and a bucket by Royal completed a 7-0 run and gave Ripley its first lead of the game, 20-19.
It wasn't until the 3:35 mark of the second quarter that the Lady Devils got on the board with Jodrey's third basket of the night, one that put the lady Devils back in front but that didn't last long as Ripley's long-distance ace, senior Jessica Garrison nailed a three to put her team back in front. The Lady Jays continued to have no answer inside for Jodrey as the 6'1" junior scored again to tie the game at 23, while Fite was on the bench after picking up her second foul.
That Jodrey score was the beginning of a 6-0 North Adams spurt to end the half. Staci Dinsmore scored on a stick back and at the buzzer, Taylor Gast threw in a running one-hander in the lane to send the visitors to the halftime break with a 27-23 advantage.
The beginning of the second half was sluggish on both sides, with defense dominating and whistles seeming to be blown on each possession. Neither team scored for over two minutes, until a Fite basket gave North Adams a six-point lead. Just 38 seconds later, Fite picked up her third foul and Coach Rob Davis was forced to bring his leading scorer back to the sidelines.
The Lady Jays got three free throws from Royal to cut their deficit in half and Davis, not liking what he was seeing, immediately inserted Fite back into the lineup. That move paid off when #11 hit a pair of free throws to put her team up five, but those were the only Lady Devils' points while the Lady Jays were in the midst of a scoring drought of over three minutes. Ripley broke the drought with baskets by Boone and Haley Payne and finished the third stanza with a put back by Brianna Payne to trail by just one at 33-32, setting up a rather eventful final eight minutes between two very talented basketball teams.
The fourth quarter began with a Haley Payne three that put Ripley back on top 35-33, but the Lady Devils got back to back offensive rebounds and scores from Dinsmore and Copas and the lead switched hands again, with North Adams going up by two. Of course, that lead quickly evaporated when Garrison hit another three that put the Lady Jays back up as the tension and excitement began to build in the gym with all present sensing a fantastic finish to come.
A pair of Royal free throws with 5:03 to go gave Ripley a 40-37 lead and the Lady Devils answered with a 15-foot jumper by Stout to get back within one. Ripley then grabbed its biggest lead of the game when Garrison struck again from behind the arc, but that was followed by a pair of Fite foul shots, making it 43-41 Ripley with 2:51 to play.
The Lady Jays then began to stall and run the clock, ended up turning the ball over, but the Lady Devils couldn't take advantage of the gift and gave it right back, forcing them to foul with exactly one minute left. The Lady Jays missed the front end of the bonus and after North Adams missed a three attempt, the Lady Devils were fouled on the rebound but weren't yet in a bonus situation, so they got the ball out of bounds. All of that ended up with Jodrey getting hold of the ball on the block and hitting a layup that tied the game with 15 seconds to go.
Back came the Lady Jays looking for the game-winner, but the North Adams forced Ripley coach Chris Coleman to call a timeout with 4 seconds on the clock. After seeing the set up on the floor, Coach Davis called a timeout as the anxious fans awaited some sort of outcome.
When both teams finally returned to the floor, the Jays had the ball out on the side of the court and inbounded to Royal on the baseline. Royal drove the baseline and was immediately surrounded by a trio of North Adams defenders while attempting to get off some kind of shot. It looked like the game might be headed to overtime but a whistle sounded and a foul was called against the Lady Devils' Copas, much to the chagrin of Coach Davis and all of the North Adams faithful in attendance.
That foul call sent Royal to the line for two shots, after Davis used a timeout to "ice" the shooter. The"ice" was in the veins of Royal, as the Ripley senior guard calmly sank both shots with just 1.1 seconds left. The Lady Devils had that much time to advance the ball the length of the court and after a timeout, threw the ball to Fite near mid court where she immediately signaled for another timeout, now with just 0.7 ticks left.
After an exhausting wait while the clock was set at the right time, North Adams used another timeout and set up a play to try and get Fite a look for a game-winning shot. Fite took the inbounds pass just outside the three-point line, but her desperation three was off target and the Lady Jays had defended their home court and escaped with an exciting two-point victory, handing the Lady Devils their first loss in the SHAC.
"We have to continue to battle through tough nights, " said Coach Davis. "Unfortunately the end of the game puts a negative light on a great game between two rivals. Coach Coleman and his staff do a great job and are well respected by all of our staff."
North Adams, now 11-3 overall (8-1 SHAC), was led by Emily Fite's 13 points, though she was bottled up all night by the defense of Ripley's Brianna Payne. Mikayla Jodrey also hit double figures with 10 points, with Rylee Copas and Brittany Stout adding 5 each.
The Lady Jays were paced by Niya Royal's 11 points, 11 of those coming from the foul line, with Tori Boone playing a very solid game and also hitting double figures with 10. Jessica Garrison scored 9 on a trio of three-pointers while the Payne household had a good performance with sisters Haley and Brianna scoring 8 and 7 respectively.
Looking to regroup after suffering two consecutive losses, the Lady Devils were back in action for a home SHAC contest with Manchester on Monday night. A much anticipated matchup will take place in Seaman tomorrow night when the first place team in the SHAC small school division, the Fayetteville Lady Rockets, invade the Devils' lair.