Following 11 lead changes and three ties, Ripon took the lead for good Saturday on a layup by Troy Brogan with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on the way to a 59-56 Trans-Valley League boys basketball win over host Ripon Christian.
“We reversed it around a few times,” Brogan said. “And eventually we caught them sleeping on the roll and it was a wide-open easy basket.
“When our top scorer (Malik Taylor) went out early that affected us and we had to find ways around that. During the second half we recovered from that and came back strong. We played better defense, that’s for sure.”
Averaging 18.8 points per game, Taylor went down in the game’s first two minutes with an ankle injury.
“Malik is obviously a very important part of our team,” Indians coach Justin Graham said. “He is our leading score. He is one of the best creators on our team and maybe even in the league. It was a change for us.
“But guys stepped up. Dorian (Dougherty), Brayden (Haines) and Nico (Ilardi) played great games. And I think that’s what makes us a tough team to beat because we have other guys who can step up and fill the void if someone does go down.”
Haines led the attack for Ripon (5-1 TVL, 11-11) with 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
“We started out with low energy,” Haines said. “We really had to pick it up especially with Malik Taylor getting hurt.
“We never thought it was out of reach. You never give up until the end of the game.”
Ilardi – who drove to the hoop with 26 seconds left for an insurance basket – scored 14 points and made four rebounds and Brogan added 11 points and six rebounds.
“That was a typical Ripon-RC game right there,” Graham said. “We had some guys make some big plays in the fourth quarter. With Malik (Taylor) going down the bench really stepped up at the right time.”
“We might be in sole possession of first place, but there are three teams nipping at our heals. It’s not like we have a comfortable lead. The TVL is tough this year and we have to bring the A game every night.”
The Knights (14-6, 4-2) were outscored 20-11 in the fourth quarter, including missing three free throws and making three points in the final three minutes.
“We missed some free throws,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “And they made a nice layup at the end, but that’s basketball.
“We had some missed opportunities and they capitalized on their opportunities. That’s what it came down to at the end.”
Lukas Van Groningen led the Knights with 19 points and three steals. Braden Van Groningen chipped in 18 points and seven rebounds and Caleb Terpsma added10 points.
On Wednesday night at 7 Ripon hosts Livingston and Ripon Christian hosts Hughson.
Crush in the Valley
Weston Ranch 61,
St. Patrick-St. Vincent 54
Gaven Wilburn, Donjae Lindsey, Jordahnn Johnson and Mi’Son Coilton paced the Cougars (12-10) with 15 points apiece.
“Jordahn Johnson did an outstanding job against their big and Wilburn took over in the fourth quarter,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “It was a complete team effort.
“This was a game we would've lost earlier in the season.”
The Cougars travel to Kimball on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Ripon 48, Ripon Christian 41
The Indians held the Knights to single digits in the final three periods.
Landen West led Ripon with 13 points and Nolan Young added 10 points. Isaac Bos paced Ripon Christian with nine points.