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Area teams finish 1-3 at MC tourney

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POSTED December 31, 2009 2:50 a.m.
­SALIDA — Rod Wright isn’t delusional.

He says the goal for his Ripon High boys basketball team is to win the brutally-competitive Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic every year the Indians are in it.

Ripon finished with one win out of four contests after losing to Oakland Tech 65-53 in the 11th-place game Wednesday.

And what was Wright’s final assessment?

“It was a successful tournament for us,” he said.

Wright added that he is often criticized for insisting that his team remain in the 16-team field that features top-caliber teams from the Bay Area, the Fresno area, Southern California and in years past the Sacramento area.

Ripon has narrowly missed qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs in two out of the last three seasons, and many point to the losses suffered at MC’s competitive tournament. The only time it had a winning record there was in 2004, when current San Jose State starting point guard Justin Graham led a third-place finish.

The Indians currently stand at 5-8 going into their final four non-league contest against Mother Lode League teams, and Wright hopes that that one win gives them confidence going forward.

“I look at it from the standpoint that the experience is great, but we’re not in it just to be in it,” Wright said. “We try to win it like any other tournament, but this one is stiffer than most others and exposes you to quality of play.

“Yes you take your lumps, but you also hope that it helps you get better for league.”

Standout point guard Matt Ratto certainly took his lumps. After leading the Indians’ 70-64 upset of Los Angeles-based Fremont with a 33-point effort, teams began to focus their attention on him.

Ripon led 15-14 after the first quarter, but Ratto began to lose his legs in the second quarter after constant double-, and sometimes triple-, team pressure. He still led the team with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, and the Indians managed to close in by as much as five early in the fourth quarter.

“Overall, Matt had a great tournament,” Wright said. “We just turned it over a lot and shot ourselves in the foot at inopportune times tonight.

“We struggled with the turnovers in the tournament because of the speed of the teams, so hopefully we can overcome that with time.”

Kody Wengel added 13 points for Ripon. Tyler Poole contributed 10, and sophomore forward Jake McCreath secured 14 rebounds to go with eight points.

Ripon returns to action against Linden at home Tuesday.

Turlock 82, Manteca 57
After a promising start to the tournament, the Buffaloes (7-4) dropped their final three in the winner’s bracket.

Travis Souza and the Bulldogs (11-3) caught fire early and stayed hot.

The 6-foot-5 guard scorched Manteca to the tune of 25 points. He hit seven of Turlock’s 13 3-pointers and didn’t play the entire fourth quarter.

Ernie Pimentel led Manteca with 19 points, and Kiwi Gardner had 16.

“It wasn’t execution or effort, they were just that much better than us,” Manteca coach Dave Asuncion said.

Manteca will begin its defense of the Valley Oak League title next Tuesday at home against Oakdale.

— Jonamar Jacinto
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