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Second half spark leads Lady Vikings past Lady Wildcats


Logan's Halle Crouse puts up a shot in the first half of the Lady Wildcats 44-31 loss to Ripley Wednesday night at the Willie Akers Arena (File photo: Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).


Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports


LOGAN Tied at halftime, Ripley coach John Kennedy knew he had to make an adjustment if his Lady Vikings were to remain unbeaten on the season.


Class AAA No. 2 Logan had hit five first half 3-pointers and were deadlocked in a 20-20 tie with sixth-ranked Ripley as the two teams headed to the locker room for halftime.


“Going into halftime it was a tied ballgame and they had hit five 3’s so we had to change up a little bit defensively at halftime and it paid off,” Kennedy said. “We tweaked two things defensively at halftime and I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag because I got Logan again and may end up facing them in the regionals down the road.”


The tweak paid off as Ripley outscored Logan 10-2 in the third quarter to secure its eighth victory to start the season, defeating the Lady Wildcats 44-31 Wednesday evening at the Willie Akers Arena.


Ripley, who will likely jump from their preseason No. 6 ranking when the first set of Class AAA polls are released Monday, avenged a regional championship loss to Logan last season improving to 8-0.


“The girls have been playing pretty well and have continued their success from fall league into this season,” Kennedy said.


Logan drew to within five, 30-25, on Natalie Blankenship’s 3-point play to start the fourth quarter, however, the Lady Wildcats could get no closer as Ripley went on a 12-0 run to take its largest lead, 40-25, with 1:38 to play.


Logan’s comeback efforts were halted by a poor shooting second half that saw the Lady Wildcats connect on just 4 of 20 attempts from the field in the final two quarters.


“We are not moving, we are dribbling in one spot, we are standing in the lane when we got someone that can get to the basket,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said. “We need more people to play not scared and tonight we had one that didn’t play scared on the offensive end.”


“We got to be more aggressive with the ball,” Gertz said. “We play scared in the second half and that is what upset me.”


For Logan, the first half was a totally different story as the Lady Wildcats shot 7 of 18 from the field but was 5 of 12 from behind the arc.


The reason for the Lady Wildcats success from deep in the first half could be attributed to the offensive rebounding of Bam Mosby and the ability of Logan’s guards to drive to the basket and find the open shooter on the perimeter.


“We got into the paint and that is why we hit 3’s in the first half,” Gertz said. “We got into the paint, and you speak of Bam’s offensive rebound and kick back, the best time to shoot 3’s.”


Senior McKennan Hall scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the second half to lead three Lady Vikings in double figures.


Sophia Nichols finished with 13 points and Abigail Eastman scored 11 points for Ripley.


“That is nice balance scoring to have when you have three in double figures,” Kennedy said. “We got those three and Erin Ryan is going to be another one.”


Autumn Adkins led Logan with 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting. Adkins hit three first half 3-pointers and finished with four made 3’s for the game. Blankenship finished with nine points and Addyson Amick had six for the Lady Wildcats.


Ripley returns to action on Wednesday as they take hit the road to take on county rival Ravenswood.


“Don’t look past anybody. It’s a flip of the coin and they are going to give us all their effort,” Kennedy said. “They are going to play their A-game and our boys just had them at home and won on a last second shot.”


“You can throw all the records out when playing a rivalry game,” Kennedy said. “It is going to be a ballgame and hopefully we can get the win there.”


Logan falls to 4-4 on the year and will return to action Tuesday night at Winfield.


“That is going to be a tough place to play,” Gertz said. “That is always a big rivalry in middle school, boys and girls, football, baseball, basketball, whatever it is, and it is a big rivalry in high school. So hopefully we can get things turned around on Tuesday.”

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