By Wade Linville –
The Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays soared to a 9-7 overall record and a 6-5 record in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play by topping the visiting Eastern Warriors 57-42 on Jan. 31.
Leading the Ripley charge was senior guard Laymon Marshall, who provided the Jays with steady scoring throughout the game to lead the way with 17 points.
“The guards took care of the ball and we slowed it down to our advantage,” said Ripley coach Marty Adams following the win over Eastern. “We needed this (win) and the guys were up for the challenge. I’m proud of them.”
Ripley knocked down seven-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in Tuesday’s win while sinking a total of 20-of-43 shots from the field and finishing with 11 turnovers.
Ripley junior Josiah Staggs was the second Blue Jay to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 14 points.
Ripley sophomore Jaki Royal finished with seven points, while junior teammate Ryan Harney contributed with nine points.
Eastern ended with 15 turnovers, shot 4-17 from three-point range and finished with 37-percent shooting form the field.
Eastern sophomore Marcus Hamilton finished with eight points, while freshman teammate Titus Burns shot for seven points.
Leading the way in scoring for the Warriors was junior Garyn Purdy with 11 points.
Eastern senior Blake Rigdon finished with nine points.
It was Rigdon starting off scoring for the night, sinking a shot from close range to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead.
A three-pointer by junior guard Brian Dunn put the Jays on top 3-2 in the first period, but an assist by Rigdon for an easy bucket by Purdy lifted the Warriors to a 4-3 advantage.
Purdy tipped in a missed shot by Hamilton to expand the Eastern lead to 6-3, but a three-pointer by Staggs quickly tied the game at six apiece.
The Warriors rose to a 9-6 lead, but a three-pointer by Marshall tied the game at nine apiece.
Staggs came through with a field goal in the paint to put the Jays on top 11-9.
What followed was an assist by Marshall for a bucket by Staggs on a fast-break to leave the Warriors trailing 13-9 late in the first quarter.
A steal by Dunn led to a score by Harney on transition as the Jays expanded their lead to 15-9.
Burns knocked down a bucket from close range to cut the Ripley lead to four points, but the Jays would cap off the first period with a 16-11 lead after Royal went to the charity stripe to sink one-of-two attempts with just over six seconds remaining in the first period.
Eastern’s Josh Tolle pulled down a rebound and buried the put-back to start off scoring in the second quarter, downsizing the Ripley lead to 16-13.
It was a three-pointer by Hamilton that tied the game at 16 apiece early in the second frame.
Showing a great deal of patience paid off for the Jays in Tuesday’s league bout.
Dunn found Ripley sophomore Alex King open under the basket, resulting in an easy bucket to lift the Jays to a 18-16 lead while also sparking 9-2 Ripley run.
A three-pointer by Royal expanded the Ripley lead to 21-16, then it was Marshall scoring on a drive to the hoop to widen the margin to five points.
Harney rose for a score in the paint to give the Jays a seven-point lead late in the second period.
The Jays upped their lead to 28-20 with a three-pointer by Royal that came off an assist by Marshall.
The Jays led 30-21 going into halftime break after Marshall pulled down an offensive rebound and buried the put-back at the buzzer to end the second quarter.
The Jays went on to outscore the Warriors 27-21 in the second half to seal the victory.
The Warriors stood at a 10-7 overall record and a 3-6 record in SHAC play following Tuesday’s loss at Ripley.
The Jays were scheduled to host the Amelia Barons in a non-league contest on Feb. 7.