Thursday, March 08, 2001

Ripley loses on final shot

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

        DAYTON — Senior center Mike Benton hit an 8-foot jumper from the right baseline with 1.5 seconds left to lift Waynesville over Ripley 56-54 in a Division III district championship game Wednesday at University of Dayton Arena.

        Waynesville junior point guard Matt Letts, who tied the game with a driving layup with 1:05 left, used seven seconds while working his way from the top of the key to the baseline before dishing off to Benton for the game-winner.

        The Spartans meet Middletown Fenwick in the regional semifinals at 6:15 p.m. next Thursday. Fenwick beat Mariemont 77-62.

        Ripley took a 52-49 lead on senior Brad Cracraft's layup with 4:45 left in the game, but the Blue Jays missed three free throws, including the front end of a bonus, in the next three minutes.

        “We had control of the game in the last few minutes, but we missed those free throws down the stretch,” Ripley coach Mike Kennedy said. “We're normally a 70 percent free throw shooting team. If we make those free throws, the game's over.”

        Ripley was just 5-of-11 from the free throw line, while Waynesville was 16-of-20.

        Waynesville placed five players in double figures.

        RIPLEY (54) — Malone 2 0 2, Turner 1 0 2, Cracraft 6 0 12, Fulton 4 0 9, Marshall 8 3 19, Teegarden 5 0 10. Totals: 24 5 54.

        WAYNESVILLE (56) — Benton 4 2 10, Whipp 4 0 10, Sesslar 3 6 14, Letts 4 2 10, Shank 3 6 12. Totals: 18 16 56.

        Ripley ....... 15  16  13  10—54

        Waynesville ....... 10  20  16  10—56

        3-pointers: R — Fulton. W — Sesslar, Whipp 2. Records: R 18-5, W 17-7.

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