RIPON — Ripon converted four steals into six straight points Thursday to start the fourth quarter of a 37-28 Trans-Valley League girls basketball win over visiting Escalon.
Leading 25-21 to start the final period, following a turnover of their own, the Indians’ Karla Calderon made two quick steals – one she fed to Savanah Clark for a layup and another she took coast to coast. Jill Jamero then converted a steal into a basket and Haylee Monroe ended the fourth Cougars possession in a row with another steal and Escalon (2-6 TVL, 13-9 overall) never recovered.
“We wanted to score,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “But we turned the ball over.
“Then we forced four turnovers right off the bat and that changed the game. That was the turning point.”
Despite the fact that the Cougars had 28 points and a whopping 27 turnovers, the four-point lead that the Indians (8-0, 15-7) had to start the fourth quarter was their largest of the night to that point.
Ripon made 21 steals with Calderon (six rebounds, six points) nabbing nine takeaways.
“We practice team defense really hard every day,” Calderon said. “We always try to force sideline and swipe up so we won’t get fouls.”
Clark tied the game at 20-20 in the third quarter with a drive from the corner to the basket. Kaylyn Evans then added a free throw and Ripon would lead the rest of the way. Clark (five rebounds) led all scorers with 12 points, scoring 10 in the second half.
“We definitely came out with more energy in the second half,” Clark said. “In the first half we were a little scared – we have a target on our back because everyone is out to give us our first loss.
“We practiced our defense Wednesday and we knew if we played good defense we would be OK.”
Jamero had eight points, four steals and four rebounds for the Indians, making two steals and three rebounds in the pivotal fourth quarter.
“We came out thinking we were going to dominate in the first half,” Jamero said. “We were kind of fired up in the second half because of the way we played in the first.”
Sarah Leal led Escalon with a double-double, scoring 11 points and making 10 rebounds.
Ripon Christian 44
Two days after toppling the TVL’s second-place team, Mountain House, the Knights (6-2, 12-9) were upset by struggling Riverbank in overtime after leading 32-25 going into the fourth quarter.
Ripon Christian was done in by 32 turnovers and a 3-for-10 effort from the free-throw line down the stretch. Riverbank was anchored by Sierra Nabors’ 27 points. Jessica Orozco had 12 points for the Knights, while Bailey Broker pitched in nine points and nine boards.
Ripon 30, Escalon 18
The Indians held the Cougars to just two points in the second half.
Kayla Jacklich flirted with an unconventional double-double for Ripon, scoring 10 points and making nine steals. Teammate Katie Kaiser had 11 points and five rebounds.