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Youth basketball program scores fee deal with RUSD

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POSTED January 15, 2013 1:08 a.m.

About a year ago, Ryan Hansen and Josh Sarratt started up the Ripon Warriors.

They kicked off this non-profit organization with 22 boys, filling two teams – one seventh-grade and one eighth-grade – with the goal of keeping the young basketball talent in Ripon.

“I had to go to Modesto (Central Catholic) for my kids to play basketball,” said Hansen, who, along with Sarratt, attended Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting with the request of waiving the facility-use fees for practice sessions only at Ripon High.

However, Superintendent Louise Johnson and board president Donna Parks were both concerned that granting such a waiver could set some sort of precedence to other youth organizations.

“We have several (youth sport teams),” said Parks, indicating that the various youth volleyball, baseball and football organizations do pay for use of the RUSD facilities for games and practices.

Trustees, instead, sided with the Warriors, agreeing to waive the estimated $1,500 fee. Hansen and Sarratt, who, in their inaugural year, paid out-of-pocket last year for the Warriors, will still fork out for the non-profit rate for games and any tournaments at RHS.

“We’ll pass the savings on to the players,” said Sarratt, who noted that the Warriors will soon expand to add fifth- and sixth- grade teams.

He and Hansen, both coaches, saw a need to bring AAU hoops to Ripon, noticing that most of the young hoop talent was bolting to neighboring towns just to play on a travel squad.

“We wanted to keep those kids in town,” said Hansen, who noted that all of the current players were enrolled in RUSD. “We were looking to fulfill those basketball needs.”

The two Warrior organizers entered the two teams in a few tournaments last year, including Stockton, Modesto and Reno.

The latter took place last June, with the Warriors’ eighth-grade squad finishing third among 32 teams and the seventh-grade team placing fourth out of 37 teams, according to Hansen.

He and Sarratt said that those two teams from a year ago now make up a good number of the current RHS sophomore boys team and all of the freshmen squad.

“Part of our goal is to serve as the feeder program for RHS basketball,” said Hansen.

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