Unfortunately for Dyersburg, a less than stellar performance that resulted in 30 turnovers proved to be too much to overcome. The end result was a 65-55 district loss, one that dropped the Trojans to 8-10 overall but more importantly dropped their district slate to 4-5.
Mahaffey, while less than pleased with the overall play of his squad, tipped his hat to a speedy Ripley (9-6, 5-3) squad for causing the Trojans to come unglued and get away from things that usually prove beneficial.
"Give Ripley a lot of credit because they are pretty good at what they do out there," Mahaffey stated afterward. "They've lost some games but they've played some good teams and played most of those really close. They were a hard matchup for us because they have three guards that can really play."
While Mahaffey credited the Tigers for being able to force his squad into some tough situations, he also acknowledged that the Trojans could have had a better effort in the district contest.
"They forced us into some things, and not to take anything away from Ripley, but this is the first night in a while where I thought we were just really careless with the ball," he added. "This is the first time I can remember that we didn't come out and bring the fight to someone. I just don't know if we were super-ready to go out there and play. Obviously that falls on the head coach."
Brice Williams led three Trojans in double figures with 17 points while grabbing six rebounds, while teammates Deyvon Pierce and Kevin Shaw ended the contest with 10 and 13 points, respectively.
Pierce, before fouling out in the fourth quarter, also had six assists, four rebounds and seven steals, while Shaw had five rebounds to go with seven turnovers.
Ripley's Chad Culbreath led the Tiger attack with 16 points, followed by Caleb Campbell with 14, Tavaris Brown added 11 and Isiah Crowley chipped in with 10.
The Trojans trailed from the outset but remained within striking distance at the end of the opening quarter down 23-15. After the Tigers opened the second period on a 10-0 spurt to take a commanding, 31-15 advantage with 4:35 to play in the half, the Trojans began to find some rhythm.
Dyersburg closed out the half on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to seven at the break, though trailing 33-26.
In the second half, Dyersburg pulled to within four, 35-31, with 6:30 left in the period. The four-point deficit was as close as the Trojans would get to the Tigers. At the end of the third, after Ripley outscored Dyersburg 17-8 over the rest of the quarter, the Trojans trailed 52-39.
In the opener, the Lady Trojans remained perfect to start 2013. Against the Lady Tigers, there was no doubt from the opening tip that Dyersburg was headed for its 16th victory of the season.
The end result was not a misprint. The 87-15 final was one that the Lady Trojans dominated from start to finish, and one that left head coach Randy Coffman feeling like he needed to clarify that he didn't intentionally try to run the score up on the visitors.
"We are about to enter a tough stretch of games against teams in our district that are ranked in the state," said Coffman. "It was important for us to do what we do out there. It's important that we keep our kids in a rhythm but by no means were we trying to run it up."
Dyersburg (16-5, 6-3) connected on 32-of-72 opportunities from the field, compared to a 4-of-28 performance for the Lady Tigers. The Lady Trojans also enjoyed a solid night at the charity stripe, sinking 13-of-15 attempts at the free-throw line.
On the glass, Dyersburg dominated by a 32-22 margin, while a solid defensive effort led to 40 Ripley turnovers.
Chari Swift led three players in double figures with 19 that included an 8-of-11 performance from the field. Swift also led the team in steals with eight and grabbed four rebounds despite cheering for her teammates from the bench for most of the second half.
Emily Bennett continued to earn her stripes as a starter for Dyersburg, finishing the game with 13 points and four assists. Rounding out the double-digit scoring for Dyersburg was the ever-improving Kim Tate. The pint-sized point guard had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.