They say all things must come to an end.
On Monday, a special season for the Moss Point girls basketball team came to a close. Ripley topped the Lady Tigers 45-39 in the semifinals of the MHSAA Girls Class 4A semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum on Monday afternoon in an all Lady Tiger matchup.
Ripley (27-5) advances to play in the Girls Class 4A State Championship game for the second time in the last three years.
“With it being our first time being here I was worried about the difference of Ripley being here before and in the first half. We didn’t play our brand of basketball we came out timid, scared and anxious,” said first year Moss Point coach Ethan Porter. “In the second half we played a lot of tougher, smarter and our brand of basketball and it showed on the scoreboard.”
Ripley held a slim 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Moss Point would take a briefly 12-10 lead early in the second quarter after back to back buckets from Brieanna Miller.
Ripley then went on a quick 7-0 run to take a 17-12 lead and ended the half up 24-19.
In the second half, Ripley built a 30-24 lead midway through off of Siarra Jackson’s six straight points.
Moss Point would then cut the lead to 35-31 at end of the third quarter of a Robyn Lee lay-up. Lee scored nine of Moss Point’s 12 points in the third quarter.
“We let their No. 21 (Jackson) get loose and I take responsibility on that in the first half, but we made a little adjustment and she didn’t get as loose,” Porter said. “She was the difference in the game and in the end, they made more plays.”
Jackson had 19 points to lead Ripley, while Amelya Hatch added 11 points for the Lady Tigers.
“That was a boxing match type of game,” Ripley coach Steve Willey said. “Moss Point has a great team and it was a very even game. We made more plays down the stretch.”
Moss Point tied the game at 39 with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter on a lay-up by Jada Matthews, but Ripley went 6-for-6 from the free throw line to seal it.
Lee had 19 points to lead Moss Point, while Brieanna Miller added nine points for the Lady Tigers (23-8).
“I’m proud of the girls for playing their hearts out,” Porter said. “We got a good group coming back, so we can try to make another run next year.”