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Merced defense too much for Ripon

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Merced defense too much for Ripon

Ripon guard Matt Ratto gets physical with Merced's Reggie Nelson during the Bears' 77-47 win over the Indians.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED December 30, 2009 2:02 a.m.

SALIDA — One day after notching its biggest win of the season, the Ripon boys basketball team appeared ready to ride that momentum after a quality first-quarter effort against Merced in a third-round consolation game of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Tuesday.

But defensive-minded Merced opened the second quarter and changed that perception in a hurry en route to a 77-47 win.

Ripon (5-7) got instant offense from seniors Matt Ratto and Caleb Christian, pushing the Indians ahead, 17-15. After making the adjustments, Merced stifled the Ripon offense in the second and outscored the Indians 24-11 in the quarter.

“When we first scouted them they really didn’t double (team) anyone, but they came out and started doubling me,” Ratto said. “It really just threw everybody off. Once we couldn’t get it past half-court, a lot of us put our heads down.”

Ratto scored 33 points in Monday’s 70-64 upset of Fremont — the eighth-ranked team in the Los Angeles Section, according to MaxPreps.

Ratto came out hot Tuesday, scoring seven first-quarter points including a deep 3-pointer to give the Indians their first lead.

Ripon did find struggles on the defensive end, getting hammered by matchup problems in the paint that resuled in a lot of Merced second chances. And Merced’s press forced turnovers that changed the momentum of the contest.

“We have good athletes, so our pressure is usually one of our strengths,” Merced head coach Marcus Knott said. “We were concerned, obviously, with their shooters and they showed in the first quarter that they can shoot the ball.

“We also knew that they had a problem with depth and I thought we kind of wore their legs out a little bit.”

The Indians were able to get points from nine different players, but handling the ball and passing out of double teams proved to be too steep a challenge.

Christian led the Indians with a solid 15-point effort, Ratto followed him with 12. The pair combined for five 3-pointers, four of which came in the first period. Jared Ratto chipped in with seven, while teammates Kody Wengel and Alex Wever added four apiece.

The Indians will look to close out the Holiday Classic, and 2009, with a strong showing in the 11th place game at 12:30 p.m. Ripon will take on the loser of the Oakland Tech.-Skyline consolation contest.

Clovis East 82, Manteca 42
The Buffaloes fell behind early and couldn’t recover, dropping their second consecutive loss.

E.J. Godfrey led the Buffaloes with 15 points, while teammate Mitch Hernandez chipped in eight. Manteca (7-3) will try and close out tournament action on a positive not when they meet up with the loser of the Turlock-Central Catholic contest.
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