RIPLEY, W.Va. — A 23-4 second quarter surge ultimately allowed host Ripley to claim the 2015 Viking Holiday Hoops Classic title Tuesday night following a 61-39 decision over the Point Pleasant boys basketball team in Jackson County.
The Big Blacks (2-5) twice led by as many as three points before claiming a slim 12-11 edge after eight minutes, but the guests missed their first six shot attempts of the second canto — which allowed the Vikings (6-1) to make a game-changing 11-0 run en route to a 22-12 edge with four minutes left before halftime.
PPHS never came closer than eight points (24-16) following a basket by Cason Payne at the 3:04 mark, but Ripley’s Chase Johnson hammered down an alley-oop dunk that sparked a 10-0 run over the final 2:11 of the half — giving the hosts a comfortable 34-16 cushion at the break.
The Big Blacks committed eight turnovers and came up with their first field goal with three minutes left in the third quarter, yet the Red, Black and White still managed to close back to within 41-23 following a Trace Derenberger bucket at the 2:42 mark.
Ripley, however, closed the final 2:30 of third stanza on a 5-2 run to secure a 46-25 lead headed into the finale.
The Vikings took their largest lead of the night following another alley-oop dunk by Johnson, which gave the hosts a sizable 58-31 edge with 3:27 left. PPHS closed regulation with an 8-3 spurt to wrap up the 22-point outcome.
Point Pleasant was outrebounded by a 35-29 overall margin, but the guests committed 15 of their 18 turnovers in the first three periods of play. Ripley, conversely, committed seven of its 15 miscues in the fourth quarter alone.
PPHS coach Josh Williams acknowledged that his troops fought a good fight against a better opponent, but it was those self-inflicted wounds that allowed Ripley to turn a close game into an impossible comeback.
“The biggest thing for us is staying focused on what we have to do throughout the game. We’ve done that well here over the last week or so, but it seems like we are still only playing well in spurts. We need to be more consistent throughout the game,” Williams said. “We had a good game plan against Ripley and we executed well early on, but you’re eventually going to give something up against a team like that. They turned things up a notch there in the second quarter and we just weren’t able to execute anything. It was another good effort from our kids, but we need to keep getting stronger in our mental approach.”
Point Pleasant — which had a two-game winning streak snapped — connected on 13-of-54 field goal attempts for 24 percent, including a 5-of-22 effort from three-point range for 23 percent. The guests were also 8-of-10 at the free throw line for 80 percent.
Payne led the Big Blacks with 10 points, followed by Trey Tucker with six points and Bradley Gibbs with five markers. Derenberger was next with four points, while Trenton Tucker and Matthew Martin each chipped in three markers.
Parker Rairden, Douglas Workman, Will Harbour and Brandon Henderson also had two points apiece in the setback. Gibbs led PPHS with five rebounds and was also named to the all-tournament team.
The Vikings netted 24-of-49 field goal attempts for 49 percent, including a 5-of-13 effort from behind the arc for 38 percent. The hosts were also 8-of-18 at the charity stripe for 44 percent.
Jamison Hunt paced Ripley with a game-high 15 points, followed by Lukas Layhew with a double-double effort of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Johnson was next with 10 points, while Elijah Casto and Logan McKinney respectively chipped in eight and five points.
Griffin Durst, Elijah Riffe and Nathan Hall rounded out the winning tally with three points apiece. Ripley has now won four consecutive decisions.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.