By Wade Linville –
Coming off a heart breaking 38-36 league loss to West Union on Jan. 23 to mark their second conference loss of the season, the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays fell to the visiting Fayetteville-Perry Rockets 58-38 in conference play on Jan. 26.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids,” said Fayetteville-Perry head coach Jason Iles following his Rockets’ win at Ripley. “Every kid that stepped in there did his job. We facilitated (and) we moved the basketball but, defensively, I thought we played outstanding. We played a little zone, we mixed it up a little bit, and we knew where there shooters were. That was the game plan.”
Fayetteville senior Luke Wiederhold led the way in scoring for the Rockets in the win at Ripley, racking up 23 points. Wiederhold also hammered the boards for 11 rebounds to record a double-double in the win over Ripley.
Also recording a double-double in the win was Fayetteville senior Zak Smyth with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Zak is my rim protector. He’s played varsity basketball since he was a sophomore and what a tough kid,” Iles said of his senior center. He’s came a long way these past couple of weeks (and) he’s been playing really, really well. We threw it inside to him early and he had seven points there in the first quarter, seven of our 17 (in the first period). He got us off on the right track and he made a couple of big buckets there late.”
Fayetteville’s sophomore guard Christopher Murphy was another Rocket to contribute big in the win at Ripley, going 13-of-19 from the charity stripe to finish with 13 points.
Fayetteville’s junior guard Bowen Doane ended the night with eight points and six rebounds.
The only Ripley player to reach double figures in scoring against the Rockets was senior Ryan Harney with 11 points.
Ripley senior Brian Dunn ended the night with eight points.
The win at Ripley boosted the Rockets to a 6-4 record in SHAC play, just two games behind the Peebles Indians who lead the way in SHAC Division II standings with a 7-2 record.
The Rockets were scheduled to return to SHAC play on Feb. 2 as they hosted the Eastern Warriors.