Jays take two in Pepsi Classic

Ripley’s Jaki Royal rises for a score over a Mariemont defender.


Ripley boys rise to 7-1 with wins over New Richmond, Mariemont – 

By Wade Linville – 

The Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays went unbeaten while hosting this year’s Pepsi Classic held Dec. 28-30, defeating teams from New Richmond and Mariemont to up their overall record on the season to 7-1.
In an exciting Pepsi Classic finale, varsity boys basketball coach Rex Woodward and his Jays pulled out a narrow 66-60 victory over Mariemont.
The Jays trailed early on as Mariemont held a 22-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Jays picked up the intensity on the defensive end in the second quarter, outscoring Mariemont 17-11 in the frame to hold a 36-33 lead at halftime.
Coming off halftime break, Mariemont tied the game at 38 off a three-pointer by Charlie Tripp early in the third quarter.
On the other end of the court, it was Ripley senior Ryan Harney pulling down an offensive rebound and sinking the put back to put the Jays on top 40-38.
A set of hit free throws by Mariemont’s Tyler Lundeberg knotted the score at 40-40, and it was Mariemont taking a 42-40 lead with 5:08 remaining in the third period of play as Anthony Garrett burying a jump shot inside the arc.
It was an assist from Ripley’s senior guard Brian Dunn for a bucket by Harney that tied the game at 42, and the Jays rose to a 44-42 advantage with sophomore Peyton Fyffe sinking a shot on transition. It was the start of a 9-0 run for the Jays, a run that saw Ripley junior Landon Dearing bury a three-pointer to expand the Ripley lead to five, and a score on a drive by junior teammate Jaki Royal that left Mariemont trailing 49-42.
When the third quarter came to a close, it was the Jays clinging tight to a 49-43 lead.
Mariemont managed to cut the Riley lead to just two to start the fourth quarter, but it was Ripley’s junior guard Landon Rigdon scoring on a reverse to expand the Jays’ lead to 53-47.
With three minutes to go in the fourth, Mariemont’s Andrew Hall rifled in a three-pointer to tie the game at 55. Just under a minute later, Harney ventured to the charity stripe to sink a pair of free throws, putting the Jays on top 57-55.
The Jays upped their lead to 59-55 as Rigdon knocked down a set of free throws in the shooting bonus, but it was Garrett draining a jump shot to cut the lead to just two.
An assist by Rigdon for a bucket by Harney lifted the Jays to a 61-57 lead, but what followed was another three-pointer by Garrett to leave Mariemont trailing by just one with under a minute to go.
Backed by a sturdy defense and some clutch free throws coming from Dearing and Harney down the stretch, the Jays were able to secure the six-point victory to cap off the Pepsi Classic.
Harney led the Jays in scoring in the Dec. 30 win over Mariemont with 18 points, and also scoring in double figures in the win was Dearing with 13 points.
Jaki Royal finished with eight points, while Rigdon and Dunn contributed with seven points each.
Ripley senior Josiah Staggs ended the night with six points, and Fyffe shot for five points in the Jays’ Dec. 30 victory.
Rounding out Ripley’s scoring in the win over Mariemont was Nigel Royal with two points.
On Dec. 29 of the Pepsi Classic, the Jays pulled off a 55-42 win over the visiting varsity squad of New Richmond.
There were 11 Ripley players to contribute buckets in the win over New Richmond. Harney led the way in scoring with 15 points.
Jaki Royal, Alex King, and Dalton England all shot for six points each.
Nigel Royal, Dunn, and Fyffe all finished with four points.
Staggs and Dearing ended the day with three points each, and rounding out Ripley’s scoring in the win over New Richmond were Chris Reuss and Rigdon with two points apiece.
Harney received Pepsi Classic Player of the Game honors following the Jays’ Dec. 30 win over Mariemont.