By Andrew Glover
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Ripley’s Dexter Ladd didn’t record a single point in the first half against the Coyle Bluejackets. Early in the third quarter, Ladd shot a 3 with a Coyle defender contesting to tie the game. With his team trailing in the fourth, Ladd sank two more to lead the Warriors to a 50-44 victory over the Bluejackets during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Court of Dreams game at Chesapeake Arena Wednesday.
“The first one bounced around for a minute and hit,” Ladd said. “I was like ‘Holy (cow). I went down and hit another one. I just kind of felt it for a minute.”
Ripley coach Doug Scott said Ladd’s shots helped turn the momentum.
“When we needed a couple baskets, he hit them,” Scott said. “It really was just what we needed.”
Coyle coach Josh Sumrall said his team didn’t play like it was capable of.
“(Ripley) was smarter than we were,” Sumrall said. “We thought we could out-athlete them. They had a better game plan and executed.”
The game was back-and-forth throughout. Coyle grabbed the lead first but Ripley came back and grabbed an 11-8 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, the Warriors pushed their lead to six but Coyle came back and led 24-23 at halftime.
Ladd’s first three-pointer tied the game at 26 and also started a 7-0 run for Ripley. The Warriors (4-0) were able to get shots inside as Coyle’s big man Tony Aska was in foul trouble most of the game, eventually fouling out early in the fourth.
“It went to our favor a little bit,” Scott said. “They are so big and strong and athletic.”
“They keyed on Tony and got him out the game,” Sumrall said. “He was a non-factor. If you (give up offensive rebounds) you are going to get beat.”
The Bluejackets (2-1) got two baskets from Dalton Anderson and Fidel Simpson scored a layup and was fouled. Simpson converted the free throw to put Coyle ahead 33-32 after three.
Ladd’s 3-point shooting in the fourth gave the Warriors the upper hand. His second 3 of the game put Ripley up 37-35, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. On the next possession Ladd hit another expanding the advantage to five. Coyle rallied with baskets from Simpson and Jared Weathers, whose three cut the lead to 45-44. Ripley responded with a two and after Coyle failed to score it had to foul to prolong the game.
Coyle played for the second straight day. Sumrall said it shouldn’t have affected Wednesday’s game.
“That’s not an excuse, we didn’t execute,” Sumrall said. “It’s more mental than anything. We want to learn from that and move on.”
Garret Gosney led the Warriors in scoring with 17. Seven of Gosney’s points came in the fourth quarter.