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BASKETBALL: Ripon Christian’s big start too much for Ripon to overcome
Ripon Christian-Ripon boys basketball
Griffin De Abreu of Ripon Christian attacks the basket while challenged by Ripon defenders Landon Gillespie and Ty Herrin. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

Ripon High and Ripon Christian renewed their rivalry at Thursday's Trans-Valley League clash in the North Gym.

It was the visiting Knights who came out playing fast and efficiently from the outset, claiming a 72-61 victory. 

"I don't think they missed a shot," said Indians coach Justin Graham, recalling RC's jackrabbit 19-6 start.

Leading the Knights (4-0, 12-6) were Eli Terpsma and Griffin De Abreu, who scored 24 points each while also serving as catalysts during that first quarter run.

For Ripon (4-1, 8-12), Logan Gillespie made up most of the offense early on, scoring 11 of his team-high 17 points in the opening period.

"He's our best outside shooter with three years of playing varsity," Graham said.

The real battle took place inside where RC's Thys Van Der Hoek (6-8) and the Indians' Bronson Burrow (6-7) often matched up.

Burrow finished with 16 points, but Van Der Hoek was there to do the cleaning up. He grabbed 14 rebounds with six blocks while finishing with 10 points.

"He's special (for us) on defense," RC coach Mark Hofman said of his big man.

A pair of blocks by Van Der Hoek early on coupled with a steal by Terpsma and treys from Trey Fasani, De Abreu and Terpsma propelled the Knights to a 25-13 first-quarter lead.

"We put ourselves in a big hole," Graham said.

His team put together an early run in the second quarter led by Burrow and Gillespie, closing the gap, 30-23.

De Abreu answered back by nailing a pair of 3s. Justin Hofman chipped in with a bucket and pair of free throws with Van Der Hoek scoring inside off a De Abreu assist -- he ended up with five assists and nine boards for the game.

RC led at the break, 42-29.

Nolan Young, Logan Lefebvre, Anthony Saucedo, Ty Herrin and Landon Gillespie helped provide a spark for Ripon in the second half.

Early in the fourth, the Indians made it a two possession game following free throws from Young, Herrin and Lefebvre, 56-51.

RC responded with a pair of De Abreu free throws and baskets from Hofman and Van Der Hoek. Derek Van Elderen chipped in with an and-one three-point play.

Ripon was in desperation mode, pressing full court in pursuit of turnovers.

"I thought Justin (Hofman) did a good job handling the press," Hofman said.

Graham, following the loss which ended his team's recent winning streak, was looking ahead.

"We can't wait to play them again," he said. 

RC also took the JV game, 64-42