Ringgold Tigers

It's been a tough start to the season for the Ringgold Tigers, but on Friday night, the Blue-and-White were finally able to put it all together.

Facing 6-AAA newcomer Rockmart, a Class AA Elite Eight team last season, the Tigers got a combined 40 points from O'Reilly Matthews and Jayden Williams as they stung the Jackets, 55-39, on Senior Night at David Moss Gymnasium.

It also marked the initial coaching victory for first-year head coach Josh Hensley.

"It feels like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said a relieved Hensley afterward. "I'm more proud that we were able to win on Senior Night for our two seniors, Daniel (Fow) and Christian (Balistreri), but we all understand it's only one step in the right direction toward where we want to be."

Rockmart got out to a slim 11-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Tigers came charging back to take a 20-15 lead by halftime. They would outscore the Jackets by six in the third quarter before tacking on 22 points in the fourth to put it away.

Matthews finished with 22 points and Williams poured in 18 to set the pace. Fow and Caden Dodson each had four points. Gage Long and Alex Otting both added three and one point by Brevin Massengale rounded out the scoring column.

Ringgold (1-7, 1-5) had been scheduled to play in a tournament at North Murray next week, but the boys' side of the tournament had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Rockmart girls 69, Ringgold 63

Rockmart senior Keyarah Berry, ranked as one of the top 50 prospects in the country by ESPN, dropped in 52 points on Friday night and the Lady Jackets needed every one of them to escape Ringgold with a victory.

The Lady Tigers led 39-37 at halftime, but were outscored 18-9 in the third quarter. Four other players for Rockmart combined for 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

Riley Nayadley had 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Lady Tigers. Maggie Reed finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Baileigh Pitts had 10 points and nine boards. Rachel Lopez finished with nine points to go with five rebounds and four assists, while Caroline Hemphill had three points to round out the scoring.

Ringgold (6-2, 3-2) will play at 2 p.m. on Monday against Calhoun on the first day of their three-day tournament at North Murray High School.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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