WEST WILLIAMSON – Mingo Central blew a 10 point lead and fell to the Ripley Vikings 71-70 Saturday night in the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout at the Williamson Fieldhouse.
“I feel like the Scott game all over again. That is the second one we have let get away,” Napier said in the dressing room after the game. “We should have won. We have to clean some stuff up – make better decisions down the stretch.”
Ripley High School came out on fire with its run and gun style and took a 24-12 lead after one quarter.
But, coach Brad Napier’s team was like a boxer who had gotten pummeled in the early rounds, but came back out and played a great second quarter and outscored the Vikings 26-12 to take a 38-34 lead at the half. The full court pressure led to several turnovers and once again the Miners’ bench gave Napier some good minutes off the pines.
“The second and third quarter we played really well,” Napier said. “I think we were a little bit tired from last night’s game. We played extremely hard last night.” Mingo Central beat Herbert Hoover on Friday night.
“I think we underestimated them a little bit and they made big shots down the stretch and we didn’t,” he added.
Julius Hatcher fired in a pair of 3-pointers and freshman Stevie Hammond scored six to help the Miners take the lead in the first half.
Mingo Central added to their lead in the third quarter and led 55-48 heading into the final quarter. Trevor Cline came in to score a couple of baskets and hit the boards hard.
The Miners increased their lead to 62-52 with 4:40 left in the game on a 3-pointer by Matt Lester and a couple of back to back hook shots by Alex “Booger” Lee.
But after the timeout, Ripley began to chip away at the lead. Turnovers hurt Mingo Central and Ripley took advantage of them.
With 55 seconds left Casey Smith gave the Vikings their first lead since the opening quarter as he fired in a trey from the top of the key to give his team a 69-68 lead.
After a free throw by MCHS, on Ripley’s next possession Smith swished in another 3-pointer to make the lead 71-69.
Miner senior Marqus Cunningham was fouled trying to tie the game up and went to the line with a chance to even the score with one second left on the game clock. The 6-6 center missed the first shot. He then tried to miss the second shot on purpose so a teammate might get the rebound, but the ball bounced around and fell through the rim.
Mingo’s Austin Banks immediately fouled Smith on the inbounds pass and put him at the line with .06 left on the clock. He missed and Banks fired one the length of the court that fell short and Ripley was able to edge by the Miners 71-70.
“We are playing a lot of guys without much experience,” Napier said. “We have to learn as we go and try to get the right combinations in the game at the end.”
Napier continues to play at least 10 players each game and has gotten good play from his bench. “We didn’t have any energy until we subbed tonight, but it is somebody different every night,” the Miner’s coach said. “We never know who to go with or to bring in. On different nights we have players to step up.”
Smith fired in a game high 32 points for the Vikings, including 17 in the final quarter. Jakob Harrison followed Smith with 13, while Jacob Haynes added 12 for coach Craig Harmon.
Chase Hatfield led Mingo Central with 12 points, while Lester and Lee each had 10 points. Cunningham finished with eight, Zack Barker came off the bench to score six. Hammond finished with seven, Hatcher had six, Garth Simpkins four and Cline four.
Senior point guard Austin Banks, who is averaging 18 points per game, had an off night shooting with only three points. However, Banks did hand out 11 assists and have four steals.
Mingo Central is now 7-6 on the season and travels to Mount View on Friday night.
Ripley is now 5-8 on the season and host Princeton tonight.
Score by quarters:
MC … 12 26 17 15 - 70
RHC … 24 10 10 27 - 71
Mingo Central (7-6) - Lester 10, Barker 6, Banks 3, Cunningham 8, Lee 10, Hammond 7, Simpkins 4, Hatfield 12, Cline 4, Hatcher 6.
Ripley (5-8) - Smith 32, Haynes 12, Harpold 7, Harrison 13, Sanders 4, Layhew 2, Parsons 1.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)