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Puncher’s Chance

Munford Ripley Xavier Alston dunkBy Thomas Sellers Jr.

Munford Bell jumper Munford Coach RossThe Munford Cougars debuted at home last Thursday night against one of the best teams in Class 2A in Tennessee the Ripley Tigers.
And things started well for the Cougars holding a 9-8 lead in the first quarter. Munford guard Queyon Mills drained a triple to give the Cougars the narrow lead. The Tigers were able to close out the quarter ahead 11-10.
Then came the moment Cougar Head Coach Ryan Ross embraced for — Ripley’s first run. Everyone makes a run in basketball, but the question is how does the other team respond.
The Tigers made their run behind shots by Xavier Alston and Famous Jones to take a 25-12 lead midway through the second quarter. The Cougars were not able to recover and Ripley posted a 75-46 win.
The Ripley defeat dropped Munford to 0-2 on the young season after the Cougars were beaten 60-45 at USJ.
“I thought we started pretty well,” Ross said of the Ripley game. “Then it was something that happened to us Tuesday, happen again to us tonight. When the other team makes their first run we’ve got to have a winner’s mentality during that.
“We have to come out and swing back,” he continued. “Instead of taking a step back. That’s happened two nights in a row. We’ve been right there in the thick of things. The other team makes a run and we take a step back like, ‘Oh, no here we go again.’ Instead of, ‘Let’s get in the ring and see what happens. We have to stop the bleeding and stop this run.’ But it will come.”
It seemed the knockout blow for Munford came when Ripley’s Isaiah Crawley took a pass from Alston and threw down a two-hand power slam just before the half to make the score 38-16.
Ripley maintained the sizable advantage throughout the second half to eventually win by 29 points.
“Overall we’ve got to get better from an execution standpoint,” Ross acknowledged. “I think we’re playing with really good effort. We’re playing with heart. We’re not taking the execution part from the practice to the games. But that will come.
“ It’s brand new to them,” he concluded. “We’ve just got to keep working hard everyday. We have to focus on the process of getting better so that when January and February rolls around we’re ready for district play.”

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November 2015
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