By Jay Heath
The Ripley Tigers played what Coach Lonnie Starks called “their best game of the year,” to defeat their rivals from Haywood, 64-54, in the final game of the regular season.
Senior Captain Jermaine Bonds led the way with 29 points, while sophomore Johnny Holcomb scored 14, and Dalton Haislip added 10 as the Tigers pulled off the season-defining win.
“We’ve played well in Haywood the eight years I’ve been in Ripley,” Starks said. “These guys played hard. It wasn’t our offense or defense that won it, it was just the fact that we played so hard. They played as hard as any team I’ve ever had.”
Earlier in the week, the Tigers fell to Covington, 75-57, despite 15 points from Bonds and 16 from Andre Banks. The Tigers trailed by just three at the half in that game.
“We’re getting closer to Covington,” Starks said. “We’d sure like to play them a third time.”
For that to happen, the Tigers will have to advance in the district tournament, as they were scheduled to open the event on Tuesday against Fayette-Ware. The winner of that game will advance to the semi-finals, which begin for the boys on Friday in Millington.
The Ripley girls lost to Covington last week, 66-31. They also fell to Haywood, 65-45, despite 11 points from Ajah Washington and 12 from Zrica Robertson. The girls were also scheduled to play in Fayette Ware in the district tournament opener. A win would send the Lady Tigers to the semi-finals in Millington starting on Thursday.