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Spartans show signs of progress in defeat

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Ripon High’s Ruth Waters goes up for two of her game-high 15 points as she draws contact from Lathrop defender Akilah Lesley.


POSTED December 19, 2012 12:20 a.m.

LATHROP — Ripon High girls basketball coach George Contente wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s 51-35 win at Lathrop Tuesday.

Spartans coach Ed Fang, on the other, hand was encouraged despite the double-digit loss.

Both men have higher expectations of their squads this year, so the reactions weren’t surprising.

Ripon (7-1) was coming off a disappointing 60-56 loss — its first of the season — to Liberty Ranch in the championship game of Liberty’s tournament. The Indians began Tuesday’s contest with an 11-2 run and led 20-6 at one point in the second quarter.

Lathrop (2-3) didn’t go away easily, closing the gap to three, 24-21, after Akilah Lesley intercepted a lazy pass and went coast-to-coast for an uncontested layup just 15 seconds into the second half.

“We wanted to see a little more mental focus, because that’s what cost us in the championship game,” Contente said. “At the end we made some decisions that we need to get better at and we will. We have to take that next step up mentally and physically and get to that next level. We definitely need to execute better.

“But give them credit, Lathrop’s a scrappy team.”

Ripon managed to pull away in the second half, limiting Lathrop to eight points in each of the final two quarters. Point guard Ruth Waters finished with 15 points and five assists and was instrumental in helping the Indians regain their early rhythm. Tia Sidtikun scored eight of her 10 points in the second half. Morgan Carrico contributed eight points and five rebounds, and Kelsey Alexander pulled down eight boards to go with six points.

Lathrop’s early-season struggles at the free-throw line continued Tuesday, particularly in the second half when it made just three of 10. The Spartans were 7-of-19 overall.

Fang still thought his team, which is looking to qualify for the postseason for the first time, showed improvement from its 51-40 loss at Stagg, which came back from a 10-point halftime deficit.

“The girls responded well tonight and did a lot of the things we wanted them to do,” Fang said. “The execution was great and our turnover rate was better than it was in our last game.

“I’m encouraged that we never gave up against a very good Ripon team. Every game we’ve played in we’ve been competitive, and we’re encouraged about that.”

No Spartan player finished in double figures scoring-wise, but they were anchored by their energetic post players. Loreal Taylor and Taylor Conley each had seven points. Taylor also ripped down 16 rebounds, and it was her hustle that provided them the spark they needed to stay in the game.

“Loreal Taylor gives 100 percent every minute of practice and every minute of the game,” Fang said. “Sometimes we have to get her to slow her down so she can see the court better. She’s learning every day and absorbing everything that we’re trying to teach her.”

Lathrop tips off the Cosumnes Oaks Tournament Thursday while Ripon plays host to Chavez.


Ripon 41, Lathrop 15

Jourdan Richter led the Indians to victory with nine points, while Zaire Davis and Kattya Calderon added eight apiece.

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