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Ripon teams gunning for playoff berths

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Adrianna Mayberry is one of two seniors on Ripon High's girls basketball team looking to help the team make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED January 19, 2010 1:46 a.m.

Modesto Christian has reigned over the rest of the six-team Trans Valley League with little threat since joining the Division IV conference in 2006-07.

The Crusaders are virtual locks to win their fourth title in the girls race. The boys are again favorites, but with 6-foot-8 star Reeves Nelson graduated and playing for UCLA could this be the year their conference winning streak ends?

Ripon’s boys and girls teams are on the bubble to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs and would need to finish league with winning records to have a chance to get there.

Ripon Christian should again earn postseason berths in Division V, and the boys team could challenge MC for the league title while gearing up for what is expected to be a deep playoff run.

Boys

Modesto Christian opens league tonight against Escalon with an unimpressive 6-8 record, but there are a few things to consider.

For one, the Crusaders didn’t have their full complement of players for the entire non-league season with four of them, including standout Isaiah Burse, helping the school’s football team claim the California Interscholastic Federation small-schools Bowl Game title.

And they had to run through their usual brutal schedule without them.

There is no star such as Nelson to carry this year’s MC team, but there is no shortage of talent. Anthony Pratt, a 6-foot-4 junior, is the squad’s only player with a double-digit scoring average (10.4).

Ripon (8-9), Ripon Christian (13-2) should be a part of what could amount to be a wide-open race that includes much-improved Escalon (11-6) and Riverbank (9-7) teams.

A tough non-league schedule was partially responsible for Ripon not making the playoffs last year, but this season the Indians look to overcome that with fourth-year varsity starter Matt Ratto (18.7 ppg) leading the way.

Ripon Christian is No. 1 in Division V according to the MaxPreps.com section rankings, but are the Knights ready to face the TVL’s more battle-tested teams? Tyler Goslinga (21.7 ppg, 11.4 rpg) is the league’s top returning post player at 6-8, and 6-4 junior wing Logan Vos has emerged as a solid complementary scorer.

Escalon has successfully bounced back from a 7-20 season (2-8 in league). Junior guard Zack Gonzales spearheads a young backcourt that includes promising sophomore Alex Reynaga at Riverbank.

Guard Chris Pimentel (13.4 ppg) is Hughson’s top player, but the Huskies (2-12) struggled to get wins against mostly small-school opponents in non-league.

Girls

Modesto Christian (12-2) is ranked third by CalHiSports.com among the state’s top Division IV teams and seventh in Northern California overall.

The Crusaders’ losses came against powerhouses Berkley (ranked fifth in NorCal) and Clovis West (ranked 10th in SoCal).

MC is stacked with talent and experience, with senior PG Brandi Henton (20 ppg), 6-1 junior forward Danielle Thomson (16.8 ppg) and 5-11 senior wing Taryn Garza (15 ppg) leading the way.

It’s anybody’s race for second place, with no team holding a .500 or better record heading into the regular season.

Ripon (7-8) has size and experience on its side with all but one key player returning. Six-foot center Lauren Feddersen leads the team with 10.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg.

Feddersen and Ripon Christian’s 5-10 senior Kelsey Tillema (14 ppg, 10.6 rpg) are among the league’s top returning post players. The Knights are also blessed with size and could make a nice run in the Division V playoffs if they can pick up the necessary wins in conference action.

Riverbank (7-9), Hughson (5-7) and Escalon (3-12) make up the rest of the TVL.

Riverbank is poised for a big turnaround after going winless in league for two seasons. Kaitlyn Deabendefer, a 5-9 point guard, and captain Veronica Lopez hope to return from non-league injuries for tonight’s opener at Ripon Christian. All-league senior Madelyn Birchall returns to head Hughson.



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