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Challenge ahead for Ripon Christian

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Challenge ahead for Ripon Christian

Ripon Christian point guard Nicole Graham dribbles to the wing while defended by Sacramento Waldorf’s Eva Denardi in last Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division V quarterfinal.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED March 5, 2014 1:17 a.m.

It’s been nearly three full months since Ripon Christian’s girls basketball team last tasted defeat, a 53-33 setback against Liberty of Brentwood during the 30th Annual Stonebarger Tournament on Dec. 14.

Nineteen successive wins followed, the latest being Thursday’s 51-27 drubbing of Sacramento Waldorf in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V quarterfinals. The No. 3-seeded Knights (22-3), by their own admission, haven’t seen much competition while on this streak.

They were hardly tested in their undefeated run through the Southern League. An overtime win over rival Ripon in a nonleague contest was a welcomed break from the monotony of 20-, 30- and 40-point blowouts of league opponents, but it’s a down year for the Indians who failed to reach the playoffs.

Tonight, the area’s last hoops squad standing will truly be challenged. Second-seeded Capital Christian (23-4) of Sacramento meets the Knights in the semifinals at Galt High. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 o’clock.

As has been the case for most of the season, the Knights will have an edge in size. Capital makes up for it with speed.

“The big key for us is handling their press,” RC coach Ed Mulder said. “If we can get into our halfcourt game and keep them out of transition I think we have a chance.

“To go through league and not have anyone press us makes it tough for the girls. We can’t simulate that kind of pressure in practice. It will be a hard adjustment, but we worked hard on it and we’re ready.”

The Cougars are led by Haleigh Filer, who averages 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 4.1 steals. Nicole Colbert (16.6 points, 8.4 rebounds), Monique Colbert (13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds) and Daizy Wilson (10.4 points) are their other standouts.

Capital Christian opened the postseason with a 72-24 win over Gustine — the SL’s second-place team that twice lost to RC by an average margin of 24.5 points.  One of Capital’s losses this year is worth noting. It was nipped by Brookside Christian 56-55 in the Liberty Ranch Tournament. The Stockton powerhouse is the reigning Division V champion and again the top seed of the bracket.

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