The Ripley Lady Jays’ defense played tough, but the team’s offense continued to struggle in a 39-27 loss to the North Adams Lady Devils Thursday night.
North Adams jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter thanks to seven points from Avery Harper. Five of the Lady Jays’ seven points came from Carlee Daulton, who hit both of the team’s field goals in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Lakyn Hupp took over the scoring for the Lady Devils, scoring six points. Kursten Prater hit a pair of three-point shots for Ripley, the only points the Lady Jays would score in the quarter. Ripley trailed 24-13 at halftime.
The Lady Jays cut into the lead a bit in the third quarter. Four different players scored at least two points for Ripley, who out-scored North Adams 11-10 in the quarter.
Neither team’s offense did much of anything in the fourth quarter. The teams went over five minutes of game time without scoring, and Hupp’s field goal was one of two baskets scored by either team. North Adams won the quarter 5-3 and the game by 12.
No Lady Jay finished the game in double-digits, though Prater and Daulton each added nine points. Hupp didn’t score in the first quarter, but her 13 points led all scorers.
Ripley’s defense held the Lady Devils well below their season per-game scoring average, though the absence of Staci Dinsmore helped their cause. Head coach Chris Coleman said the team’s defense was the best he had seen in a while.
“I thought that was as good as we’d played all year, probably in the last couple years,” Coleman said. “I was really happy. Their size hurt us a bit, and we knew that was going to happen. That’s a good team. They’re athletic and big, they’re really hard to guard.”
North Adams head coach Rob Davis said Ripley’s defense deserves some credit, but he also noted his team missed some easy shots.
“Give Ripley all the credit, they came out and played hard,” Davis said. “They played hard and they’re scrappy. We had some easy looks early and we didn’t finish. You have to keep attacking off the dribble and make good passes. We just don’t make good passes sometimes.”
Ripley’s offense, as it has done most of the season, struggled. Coleman said he thinks the team is getting better on the offensive end.
“It’s the little things that cost us all the time,” Coleman said. “We’ll keep working on it. We’re getting better I think, the kids are getting more confidence in themselves and attacking the rim.”
Davis said the team has to figure out a way to play without Dinsmore on the court, as the squad’s play in the last two games has been noticeably worse.
“She’s the key but we have to learn to play without her until she gets back,” Davis said. “Right now, we’re struggling these last few games.”
Coleman, meanwhile, said his team has to look on the positive side of their performance, though not necessarily the result.
“[I told them] to be glad with their effort,” Coleman said. “Be upset that we lost. I’m not in to moral victories, but that’s possibly the best team in the league. I know Dinsmore is out, but they’re still good. They’re disappointed they lost, but if we get effort like that, we might be 9-8.”
North Adams will be in action on Thursday, Feb. 4, on their home court in a game that has been anticipated since the regular season began as they play host to the powerful Lynchburg Clay Lady Mustangs in a Southern Hills Athletic Conference showdown.