When Ryan Rippetoe missed his first chance to put an exclamation point on the Division III boys basketball state final, the Lincoln County senior forward was confident he would get another chance to dunk.
After all, everything seemed to go the Lynx’s way Saturday.
Rippetoe threw down a one-handed jam midway through the fourth quarter for the final points of his high school career, and Lincoln County shot 57 percent from the field en route to a 67-42 victory over Pershing County at Orleans Arena.
Rippetoe’s dunk gave him 25 points.
“I knew right when I missed I would have another opportunity,” he said. “I just had to stay cool, calm and collected. When I got the steal, I knew it was going through the hoop.”
Senior Chandler Katschke finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Lynx (24-6), who took control with a 17-1 run in the second quarter. The state title is the seventh for Lincoln County and its first since 2008.
Randolph McLean led the Mustangs (25-7) with nine points. Seth Montes, who scored 18 points in Friday’s state semifinal win over Agassi Prep, was held to six as Pershing County shot 13 of 46 (28.3 percent) from the field.
“We knew they had a lot of shooters, and we knew we would have to contest a lot and play hard defense,” Katschke said. “We played them straight up, and it worked for us.”
Rippetoe and Katschke nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to ignite Lincoln County’s game-changing surge that put the Lynx on top 37-16 with 1:29 remaining in the half.
Lincoln County, which made 26 of 46 field-goal attempts, led 55-31 through three quarters. After Rippetoe missed a dunk one minute into the fourth, his breakaway jam made it 61-38 with 4:55 remaining.
Rippetoe and Katschke exited to a huge ovation from Lynx fans with 2:19 to play.
“It was everything or nothing this year,” Katschke said, “and we wanted to make sure it was everything.”