Tripp hangs 28 to help Tigers down Linden, snap nine-game skid

Charles Tripp-9251Charles Tripp had a career night in every sense Friday, leading the Demopolis Tigers to a 73-51 rout of rival Linden.

“Charles is my senior. He’s one of my leaders. He has been building up to this area tournament. He has been playing his best basketball of late,” Demopolis coach Rodney Jackson said.

Tripp flashed his full array of offensive skills throughout the course of the game, opening the contest on a personal 7-0 run en route to a 13-point first quarter. Tripp connected on three shots from deep and a nifty back-to-the-basket turnaround baseline jumper over a Linden defender. However, it was a third quarter moment that placed the exclamation point on Tripp’s night. The senior manned the right wing, took a pass from Demetrius Smith, hit a hard drop step down the baseline and finished with authority at the rim, slamming home a two-handed jam that animated the home crowd.

“It’s very rare, but he always had it in him,” Jackson said of the magnitude of improvement Tripp has displayed since his junior season. “We felt like he had a good shot. He has great ball skills. The issue with Charles was confidence. It’s not soaring, but it’s getting better. When it’s soaring, he’ll be unstoppable.”

In addition to his game and career high 28 points, Tripp also led all players in rebounds and was second in assists Friday night, hauling in 14 boards and dishing out five dimes.

The effort highlighted a crisp performance from the Demopolis team, which outrebounded the Patriots 46-19 in the contest and shared the basketball more efficiently to the tune of a 26-5 assists disparity.

“That’s been one of our biggest problems, rebounding. We’ve been working on it in practice and it showed up in the game. I felt like we were the more aggressive team tonight,” Jackson said. “We’ve been talking about playing together, sharing the ball, passing up a good shot for a great shot.”

The Tigers carried a 20-9 lead through the first quarter and scarcely looked back on the way to a 37-24 halftime lead.

The win snaps a nine-game losing streak for the Tigers, giving them their first win since a 51-47 road win over Thomasville Jan. 2.

“I thought we played well tonight. I thought we executed. The game plan going in was to try to limit turnovers, take quality shots, play quality defense and don’t foul,” Jackson said. “Right now, whether it was Linden or whoever, we’ll take it. I thought our guys played well.”

Josh Moore added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers while Xavier Jowers had 11 points and nine boards. Smith finished with eight points and four assists.

Freshman Nelson Haskin impressed in his brief time off the bench, scoring six points and grabbing four rebounds.

D.J. Charleston led the Patriots with 21 points and five rebounds. Dequan Charleston added 11 points for the Pats while Steve Edwards had nine.

Demopolis heads into the Class 5A, Area 6 tournament as the No. 4 seed next week and readies to face top-seeded Dallas County in the opening round. Despite the 9-16 record, Jackson feels good about his team.

“I told my assistant coach that even some games we lost, I felt like we played great ball,” Jackson said. “We knew we were in a tough area. We knew we had to battle. It has built us up to now, going into this area tournament. Everybody’s record is 0-0.”