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Ripon, RC tourney hosts win openers

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Ripon High center Derek Hickman tips in two of his 17 points on an offensive rebound in the first half of the Indians’ 55-43 win over visiting Stagg.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 22, 2012 1:03 a.m.

RIPON — Curtis Bernard took a few seconds to measure his shot from the right wing with a defender squared up in front of him.

Stagg’s sharp-shooting guard dribbled, took a step back and drilled his third straight 3-pointer in the second quarter.

“I didn’t notice until the last 3 that he made,” said Ripon High’s Kyle Wengel.

He didn’t notice because he too was unconscious. Wengel and Bernard played a little “Can you top this?” as they each buried 3s on six straight possessions. Wengel and the Indians would go on to prevail 55-43 in the opening round of the 3rd Annual Ripon Winter Classic Friday night.

“I was like, ‘I think we just went 3 for 3, back and forth,’” Wengel said. “That was awesome.”

Ripon faces Bret Harte (5-4) in the championship game tonight at 6:30.

Wengel ended up scoring all 12 of his points in the second quarter. Bernard led all players with 18 points on six 3-pointers.

“We’ve seen (Wengel) like that in practice, so we know he’s capable of it,” Wright said. “He hit seven or eight in a row one time and was just on fire.”

Neither team stayed hot from the perimeter, but Ripon (2-5) was able to take advantage of its superior inside game. Enter 6-foot-5 junior center Derek Hickman, who poured in 12 of his 17 points in the second half.

Ripon went to the paint often over the final two quarters, but Wright said the purpose of that was to free up Wengel on the wings and ride his hot hand.

“It was more to see if Wengel can keep hitting, but he didn’t,” Wright said. “(Hickman was defended) one-on-one, so we kept going inside. We’ve been trying to get him to be a little stronger going to the basket and it was nice to see that. He is showing development.”

The turning point was the third quarter, when Stagg (4-8) was limited to one point — a free throw from Cody Wilkenson. The Indians, meanwhile, scored 10 of their own points and carried a 41-30 lead into the fourth.

Point guard Cole Herrin contributed 10 points for Ripon, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

“It finally felt like things were finally clicking,” Wright said.

The bad news is that Friday’s contest marked the end of starting senior guard Anthony Baciocco’s season. He will undergo surgery today to repair an injured shoulder sustained from the football season. He is the third player — following Josh McCreath (knee) and Tyler Swortfiguer — to have his basketball season cut short from a football injury.

Ripon Christian Tournament

Ripon Christian 56,Linden 34

The Knights (5-2) blanked Linden 17-0 in the second quarter to break it open and set up a rematch of last year’s championship game with Gregori (5-6).

Ripon Christian and coach Ron Vander Molen got the better of the Jaguars, coached by his brother Mike, 64-42 last season, but that was during Gregori’s inaugural campaign as a varsity program without seniors.

“They’re a lot better this year,” Ron Vander Molen said.

He hopes his team plays better tonight than it did Friday despite the lopsided score. Jon Vander Molen scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, while Dalton Koslosky fired eight of his 12 in the first quarter.

“(Linden) hit some 3s in the first quarter and we did a better job of defending that,” coach Vander Molen said. “We were able to keep the tempo up, but I didn’t think we played particularly well. We didn’t pass as well as I know we can, and I weren’t all that strong inside like we normally are.”

Freshman

Manteca 46,Bear Creek 25

Tyler Graves and Angel Perez pumped in 15 and 13 points, respectively, as the Buffaloes trampled their way into the title game of the St. Mary’s Tournament. They will face the winner of the De La Salle-St. Mary’s game.

Frankie Lopez added eight points.

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