The North Decatur boys basketball team returned to action at home, falling to 3-7 on the season with a 51-39 loss to South Ripley Friday.
North led 2-0 on a score by senior Jason Kirchhoff, but South Ripley took control and went ahead 12-11 after the first quarter. Ripley had a 21-13 halftime edge, but North outscored the Raiders 18-14 in the final eight minutes.
Head coach Kyle Nobbe pointed out his team’s 25 percent shooting rate as North struggled to make its shots fall.
“You can’t win games doing that,” he said, noting two different prolonged stretches in the second and third quarters where North was unable to answer its opponent.
“I sound like a broken record,” he said. “We just couldn’t put it in the basket.”
On a positive note, North committed just six turnovers.
“We’re taking care of the basketball,” said Nobbe. “The next step for us is to put all that together consistently for 32 minutes on consecutive nights.”
Kirchhoff led his team with 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Senior John Hammersmith followed with 14, including six in the second half. Freshman Zach Johnson scored five, all in the fourth quarter, including a triple from the wing. Senior Kevin Geis added his own trey for three points, and Matthew Laudick chipped in two free throws.
North shot just 4-for-6 from the foul line, while the Raiders shot 10-for-13.
Trey Sparks led Ripley with 15 points, including 8-for-9 from the foul line. Senior Cody Federman followed with 11 points.
Head coach Kyle Nobbe credited his team’s effort, especially on defense. North aimed to limit the Raiders to the 50-point level, a mark that Nobbe said would make a victory attainable for the Chargers.
“I’m really proud of how our kids played,” said Nobbe. “Our effort was outstanding. They were near a number that if we were around this number, we have a chance to win the game. The bottom line of tonight’s game is that we have to make shots.”
Nobbe is encouraged with the signs he sees from his team that it can compete when it matters the most, including against a potential sectional opponent in South Ripley.
“Our kids found out tonight that if we can get ourselves in position to compete and continue to grow and get better, we’re going to be able to compete for a sectional championship,” he said.
The South Ripley junior varsity team beat North 27-26. Matthew Laudick led North with 11 points. Donovan Meyer followed with seven, while Evan Wallpe scored four. Andrew Hocker and Brian Williamson each chipped in two. All JV scoring is unofficial.
North begins three straight weekends of games on back-to-back nights, beginning with Morristown on the road Friday night and Union County on the road Saturday.