OXFORD — They say defense wins championships.
Ripley would use a stiff defensive performance to get past Moss Point 37-30 to claim the MHSAA Girls Class 4A State Championship on Thursday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss in the all-Lady Tiger matchup.
It is Ripley’s (32-2) third state championship overall and first since 2011. This is head coach Steve Willey’s first state title after being the runner up last year to Louisville and in 2017 to Lafayette.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors and the culture they built inside that locker room,” Willey said. “Can’t say enough about our defense tonight. Box outs, rebounds and Rivers did heckuva job tonight and deserves that MVP trophy.”
Rivers Adams finished with 10 points and seven rebounds to lead Ripley and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“Just trying to play my role and do what I’m supposed to do,” Adams said. “If the points come they come and if the rebounds come they come and glad we won state. I didn’t expect this.”
Ripley never trailed the whole game leading 4-1 after the first quarter and 11-10 at halftime.
The Ripley defense held Moss Point to just 24 percent shooting from the field (10-for-41) and to just one three-pointer made for the entire game.
“All eyes were on Lee and we had to bring pressure from different places,” Willey said. “They were doing the same to us and against a good player like that you can’t let them get loose. Just did a good job of getting box outs and rebounds.”
Summer Kirkman added eight points for Ripley.
“Second half we got to free throw and that’s how it went,” Willey said. “Being here two times before and losing was motivation for us. This year we were ready and prepared and got it done.”
Louisiana Tech signee Robyn Lee had a game-high 24 points to lead Moss Point (25-8), including all 20 points in the second half.