RIPLEY – The Georgetown boys’ basketball team entered the season with hopes of building off of a postseason run that ended after earning a sectional title last year.
That build continued smoothly on Saturday, as the G-Men used a big effort from their biggest player, Noah Pack, to beat Ripley, 63-52.
“A lot of people don’t understand that even though your team continues to improve, a lot of times you just don’t know how to win,” said Georgetown coach Doug Williams.
“We’re just not used to that situation because we’ve only had 10 wins the last two seasons," added Williams. "These kind of games that we had last year that we lost, it’s huge for us to come in as the first game of the season and finish it off.”
Jaki Royal drilled a step back 3-pointer to give the Blue Jays an early 3-0 lead, but it wouldn’t last long, as a layup from Tanner Ellis and a free throw from Logan Doss tied things back up, before Pack got going on his 27-point night.
Pack picked a pass intended for Royal, took it down the floor and finished over Landon Dearing to give the G-Men a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
“He’s such a good player, but not only is he such a good post player, but he’s such a good all-around player and that’s what colleges are starting to see that are recruiting him is that he shares the ball, he handles the ball, he manages the game and for your center to do that – it’s hard for me to explain him to people that haven’t seen us play because they don’t understand how the center is the guy who is carrying the load for us, but he is,” said Williams.
The junior forward had eight points in the first quarter to give Georgetown an 18-8 lead, but Landon Rigdon converted two free throws to make it an eight-point game, before Royal crossed up his defender and knocked down his second triple of the game to make it 18-13 after a quarter.
Pack slowed down his scoring in the final eight minutes of the first half, but Luke Gast picked up the slack, scoring nine points in the frame to help the G-Men to a 30-24 lead at the break.
Back-to-back buckets from Josiah Staggs opened the second half scoring and brought the Ripley deficit to two, before Pack was able to get a couple of putbacks while picking up fouls. Pack finished with 18 rebounds on the night.
“Pack is just phenomenal. He’s 6-7 or so and our biggest guy is 6-2. I told them that you’re just going to have to try to outwork him. He’s got the clear size advantage and we tried to make sure our rotations were right, but his length sometimes just prevailed,” said Ripley coach Rex Woodward. “I told them we can’t give up and-ones to him. We’ve got to foul him and make sure he doesn’t get a good look or we’ve got to just give him the two, and he got a handful of and-ones.”
The Blue Jays were able to get within two twice more after that, but a 3-pointer from Doss and a bucket from Pack made it a seven point game, before Royal found Peyton Fyffe at the end of the third quarter to make it 45-40.
“I just thought we started flat and we kind of stayed flat and I’m not sure why. Some of the things they did gave us fits and I never thought they would. Their pressure, even though it wasn’t necessarily aggressive, kind of just disrupted us from the get-go,” said Woodward. “I told the guys that we’ll just make adjustments and go from there.”
Trailing 47-42, Ripley put on the defensive pressure, but the G-Men were able to break it for easy, transition baskets that resulted in an 11-0 run to blow the game open before eventually winning, 63-52.
“We’ve worked for two years on transitioning down the floor after we get a rebound or a turnover. We work on it every single practice. It just put us in those situations where we could get down the floor,” said Williams. “It helped they were being aggressive and trying to foul, so they were running by us and trying to steal a pass. It put us in situations where we could go on that run.”
Pack finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds, while Gast had 14 points and seven rebounds. Doss and Jonny Strickland added 10 and seven points, respectively. The G-Men move to 1-0 and will host Hillsboro on Tuesday.
The Blue Jays were led by Royal, who finished with 11 points, while Fyffe had nine, Staggs had eight and Rigdon and Dearing each had six. Ripley falls to 1-1 after opening with a win against Lynchburg-Clay. They return to action Friday when they travel to West Union.