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February 13, 2018 • Sports
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Lady Raiders’ season draws to emotional close
Team falls to Paoli 55-44 after defeating North Knox in the morning

Jared Rogers

The South Ripley Lady Raiders basketball team, backed by a large fan turnout and the boisterous South Ripley Pep Band, began their regional run on Saturday, February 11, in fine fashion. After a tit-for-tat first quarter against the North Knox Lady Warriors of Bicknell, IN, the young ladies caught fire in the second, draining four three-pointers and grabbing offensive rebounds for put-back points. Their zone defense flustered the Lady Warriors, and the Lady Raiders led at half by 15, with a score of 35 to 20.

Sophomore Cierra Copeland battled hard in the paint for the Lady Raiders, coming off the bench in the second half of both games to aid the SR effort.

The second half saw more dominance for the green team, in which they increased their lead to 19 after three quarters, continuing to confuse the Lady Warriors with outstanding defense. A physical fourth quarter saw the Lady Warriors give one last futile push before South Ripley stalled out the game to win 65 to 40. Elexah Roepke and Julia Rea both scored 16; Kiley Sparks and Cameo Hamm 11, Toria Tucker and Morgan Peetz five; and Cierra Copeland scored one.

The second match-up of the morning paired the Paoli Lady Rams against the Evansville Mater Dei Lady Wildcats. Evansville pulled ahead by as many as eight in the third quarter, but a few senseless fouls allowed Paoli to chip away at the score. Staunch defense by Paoli, coupled with an ice-cold finish by Evansville, saw the Lady Rams winning by a score of 39 to 32.

The regional final tipped off at 8:00 p.m. in the packed Paoli High School gymnasium. Once again the South Ripley pep band fired up the crowd, where the Lady Raiders hoped to down the Lady Rams on their own turf. Paoli pushed the pace in the first quarter, gaining a six point lead by its end. The SR offense, which looked so smooth and confident in the morning session, was not immediately able to continue their groove, and a few early fouls didn’t help the slow start. Through hustle, SR forced a few turnovers in the second quarter and pulled within two points of the Lady Rams at halftime, propelled by a three pointer from Cameo Hamm.

The home floor advantage appeared to boost the Lady Rams’ morale in the second half. Just as South Ripley had frazzled North Knox with tenacious defense in the morning, Paoli seemed to return the favor to the Lady Raiders by continuing to disrupt their offensive flow in the third quarter.

SR pulled within six points with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter, but ultimately, they were overwhelmed by the gold and purple, falling 55 to 44. Emotions ran hot at the end of the game on the South Ripley sidelines, with coaches and fans struggling to fathom the loss. The Lady Raiders made a valiant effort, however, and should be commended for their accomplishments this 2017-18 basketball season.

North Knox 13 20 29 40
South Ripley 14 35 48 65
SR Individual Scoring

Rea 16
Peetz 5
Roepke 16
Tucker 5
Sparks 11
Hamm 11
Copeland 1

South Ripley 10 19 30 44
Paoli 16 21 37 55
SR Individual Scoring

Rea 12
Peetz 2
Roepke 16
Tucker 2
Sparks 7
Gentile 2
Hamm 3

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