Lady Raiders are sectional champs again
Photo Courtesy of Twitter
Matt McNew has won his fairshare of sectional championships as a former member of the coaching staff at county rival Jac-Cen-Del but the former junior varsity coach traded in for green and white two years ago and the result this past Saturday night was his first sectional crown as a head coach.
His South Ripley Lady Raiders dominated the weekend altogether and the finale was a dominant 42-26 win on Saturday night at home over Switzerland County in the Class 2A Sectional 45 girls basketball championship game. The title is South Ripley’s seventh in the last 12 seasons and the first since winning the title back in 2019.
“I am just so happy to see this team accomplish what they have accomplished this year so far,” McNew said of his team. “I cannot be more proud of this team for that and proud of the effort they brought to the gym this week. They did everything we asked of them and dug down deep three times to get a sectional championship that we had our sights set on all year long.”
While never a game of offense, it was a story of South Ripley doing enough in terms of scoring and completely suffocating an 18-win Swtizerland County team the entire way. The Lady Raiders led just 6-3 through the game’s first eight minutes but soon after proved to be a real quick tale of one team being just better than the other on this particular night.
South Ripley held the Lady Pacers to a combined six points between the second and third quarters and pieced together runs of 14-2 and 11-4 as the lead stood at 31-9 by the start of the fourth quarter. The victory by that point for the Lady Raiders had already been secured, despite Switzerland County finally breaking through and scoring 17 points in the final frame.
The Lady Raiders shot 40 percent from the field and 50 percent from two-point range as seven different players hit the score column. Rachel Meyer led all scorers with 14 points and Janire San Miguel added 10 points off the bench. Gracie Gunter scored seven points and added eight rebounds and a team-high five steals.
The trio was named to the all-sectional team on Saturday night with Rachel Meyer and Gunter sharing Co-MVP honors.
Switzerland County (18-6) was led by Jessie Duvall with 13 points.
The Lady Raiders defeated South Decatur 64-29 on Friday night in the semifinal round after Switzerland County outlasted Southwestern (Hanover) in overtime in the first semifinal.
South Ripley led the Lady Cougars 21-1 at the end of the first quarter and added 20 more points for a 23-point halftime lead. The Lady Raiders held South Decatur to just two points in the third quarter and added to the blowout in the fourth quarter by scoring 14 points to end the night.
The Lady Raiders shot 58 percent from the field and knocked down nine 3-pointers in the game. Gunter led all scorers with 14 points and Rachel Meyer added 12 points in the win. Sarah Meyer chipped in nine points and Alexa Heidt scored eight points.
South Ripley (17-5) plays Class 2A No. 17 Eastern (Pekin) in the noon semifinal on Saturday afternoon at the Class 2A regional hosted by Crawford County. The Lady Musketeers (13-9) defeated Crawford County 37-35 on Saturday night. The first semifinal features Class 2A No. 1 Linton-Stockton (23-1) and Class 2A No. 12 Forest Park (17-3).