Rippee free throw lifts Tigers past McQueen
MINDEN — It wasn’t the prettiest shot by any means. The second of two free throws by Luke Rippee still rolled in for the go-ahead point with 3.1 seconds left to lift the Douglas High School boys basketball team past McQueen 50-49 on Tuesday night.
Andy McIntosh came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points and give Douglas (2-4) a spark against the Lancers, who only had seven players in uniform and only four on the floor for the final three seconds
Nevertheless, coach Keith Lewis called the win an important one for the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We don’t care. We needed a win and we’ll take a win, no matter how we get it,” Lewis said. “That’s a huge victory. We’re struggling a little bit, too, so it could have been a situation where, if they had pulled that out there at the end, we would have really been left scratching our heads. But Luke stepped up and made the shot when he had to. I don’t know how he got it over the rim, but he did.”
Rippee’s first shot missed, then after a McQueen time-out, his second shot hit the front of the rim and then trickled in for the point. The junior guard was obviously nervous after missing four of his previous seven free throws in the fourth quarter.
“I couldn’t get any of the first couple in, I had to make that last one,” said Rippee, who finished with eight points. “That was probably the worst stroke of all of them, but that one went in, so I got lucky.”
The Tigers trailed 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, but scored nine unanswered points at the start of the second to take a lead they held until the final seconds. Rippee converted a steal into a layup to break a 10-10 tie. McIntosh sank one free throw and then scored on a follow shot. Then Rippee stole the ball again and fed a downcourt pass to McIntosh for a layup to give Douglas a 17-10 lead when mcQueen coach Pat Condon called for a time-out with 5:36 left in the period.
Douglas also scored 10 unanswered points — Rippee had three assists during the run — to extend a 28-26 lead to 36-26 with 3:21 left in the third quarter.
McQueen had seven players from its state championship football team sitting on the bench — they didn’t have enough basketball practices to play in the game — but the Lancers didn’t fade down the stretch.
James Morse knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Douglas lead to 44-42 and then he hit another 3 from the top of the key to tie the score at 49 with 27.9 seconds showing on the clock. Morse was fouled on the latter shot, his free throw for the go-ahead point glanced off the rim and was rebounded teammate Zack Hicks.
Hicks, who led all scorers with 20 points, missed his inside shot and Nick Summers came down with the rebound for Douglas. The outlet pass went to Rippee, who drove down the floor and was fouled inside the key to set up the game-winner.
Eric Emm also scored eight points and Summers seven for the Tigers
Douglas shot 8-for-14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 15-for-25 overall.
Douglas travels to Vacaville, Calif., to play in the Bulldog Classic starting on Thursday. The Tigers open with a 6:30 p.m. game against the Vanden Vikings.