By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Day two of the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Turkey Shootout provided spectators a chance to see two teams on the rise.
The Ripley Lady Tigers led by Head Coach Ronnie Lanier feature a lineup of size and athleticism from the ninth and 10th grades. TRA Lady Rebels Head Coach can identify with her starting lineup composed mostly of underclassmen.
On of those young player for TRA Nov. 20 was freshman Brooke Bridges. The shooting guard was given the nod to start and took advantage of it with 6 points in the first quarter. Bridges along with her teammate Taylor Beasley continued the hot shooting all night to lead TRA to a 48-26 victory.
“It felt good,” Bridges said of her hot shooting. “I had a really good start. Just getting to start got my confidence up.
“Making a shot in the very beginning just puts everybody in a good mood and gets everybody wanting to make a shot like that,” she added.
In the opening seconds on the TRA Gymnasium floor Lady Rebel point guard Bethany Berger located Bridges cutting to the basket for a layup that made the score 2-0.
Later in the first quarter Berger hit a jumper that made the tally 6-3. The Lady Tigers were only trailing 8-7 late in the opening period.
Then Bridges went back on the attack draining a jump shot. Then Beasley hit Bridges for a layup that game TRA a 12-7 lead.
The second quarter began with the Lady Rebels ahead 12-9. TRA’s backcourt of Berger and Virginia Moore sparked a 18-1 run with six points.
Berger hit three free throws and Moore stepped behind the arch and drained a three-pointer. The score was 18-10.
Then Hanna Quinn contributed to the TRA rally with a steal and jumper. Beasley did her part with a three-pointer that made the score 23-10.
It was the 1-minute and 23-second mark of the second quarter when Ripley finally scored again with a pair of foul shots. With 14 seconds remaining in the half the Lady Tigers managed their first field goal making the score 31-14. TRA led by 19 points at the break.
In the second half the Lady Rebel’s senior leadership kicked in with Audra Bibb hitting a triple and Brooklyn Simpson keeping Ripley for attacking the basket with her post defense.
Fellow senior Bayleigh Nale got into the scoring act in the fourth quarter with a put-back bucket. It was a team effort that helped TRA win by 22 points but the hot shooting of the freshman got the Lady Rebels on a roll.
“I really stressed to Bridges from the beginning of the season, she’s got to shoot the ball,” Armour said “She’s one of our solid shooters along with Beasley. I’ve kept instilling in them the last couple of weeks, you’ve got to shoot it. You can not be afraid.”
Armour said she was happy to see her team play from ahead but her youthful Lady Rebels still need a lot of work.
“We’re so young and we don’t click all the time,” she acknowledged. “But tonight we were on. I hope we’ll start getting more consistent.
“It does feel a lot better being ahead in the game instead of getting behind and trying to come back,” Armour concluded. “We were able to see more like we’re not boxing out. We’ve got to work hard on boxing out. And us being able to see that, we’re going to build from that.”