Ripon Christian High coach Ed Mulder looked to Jessica Van Vliet for defense against visiting Mountain House on Tuesday.
In particular, he asked his senior forward to key on Mustangs’ Tatyana Jackson in this pivotal Trans-Valley League clash.
Van Vliet not only handled her defensive assignment but chipped in with 17 points to go with her 13 rebounds.
“I told Jessica that she didn’t have to score tonight – maybe I should tell her not to score more often,” said Mulder following the 51-38 victory.
With that, both teams are tied for second in league and two games behind idle Ripon.
Ripon Christian (6-2 TVL, 12-9) prepared for the Mustangs by working on blocking out and defense. “They scored on a lot of second-chance points the last time we played them,” Mulder said.
Blocking out enabled the Knights to control the boards. In the end, they out-rebounded the opponent by a 40-17 margin.
RC controlled the tempo throughout most of the game with Nicole Graham leading the way. She kept Mountain House (6-2 VOL, 14-6) off-balanced with her drives to the hoop and hitting a few mid-range jumpers to finish with 14 points.
The Mustangs kept pace thanks to the shooting of guard Arielle Tala, who opened the game by burying a pair of 3s en route to a game-high 20 points.
The Knights consistently looked on finding the open player, finding Bailey Broker inside late in the first quarter for a pair of baskets, and Graham, off a pass from Elizabeth Weststyeyn, for the go-ahead trey.
Kelly Engel kicked off the second by banking in a 3 from the top of the key. Broker followed with a bank shot of her own.
RC began to pull away in the third as Graham drove in for two and Molly Hoeksema canned a trey. Van Vliet delivered on three straight baskets from inside, giving the Knights some breathing room, 43-31,
The Knights continued their strong play in the fourth to secure the win.
“We have to take care of our business,” said Mulder on the TVL race for the top spot. “We’ll need some outside help (against Ripon).”
Ripon Christian 65, Mountain House 50
The league-leading Knights (7-1 VOL, 14-7) got balanced scoring at Mountain House on Tuesday.
Zach Cortright led the way with his game-high 16 points and Travis Vander Molen and Daniel Hannick had 13 and 12, respectively.
Ty Beidleman added 11.
“The leadership of Travis Vander Molen was superior tonight,” said RC coach Mark Hofman. “He gets us to run our plays properly, he gets them talking on defense and he is our floor general.
“Travis played an excellent all-around game – he does a lot of those things don’t show up on the stats, but he is very important to our team right now.”
The Knights jumped out to a 16-9 first-quarter advantage and maintained that edge throughout the game.
Mountain House (1-7 TVL, 6-15) was led by Brett Thompson, who hit for 14. Cameron Palmer finished
Ripon Christian 33, Mountain House 14
The Knights led this one from start to finish over the visiting Mustangs.
Taylor Anema led RC with nine points and Renae Heida added eight points along with 13 rebounds
In addition, Kristin King put together an all-around game for the Knights, tallying six points, five steals, five assists, and nine rebounds.