ELK GROVE – Amanda Boersma gave Wilton Christian a second-chance after squandering a last-second layup opportunity in regulation, but she made up for it in overtime, leading Ripon Christian to a 51-43 overtime upset win in the second-round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V girls basketball championships Thursday.
Boersma scored the first six Ripon Christian points in overtime, including a 3-pointer which put the Knights (12-14) up 45-43 with 1:28 remaining. Wilton Christian (24-5) had not lost a contest since Dec. 31, 2009, but ran into a Ripon Christian team bubbling with confidence.
“The girls fought harder than I ever think I have seen them fight,” Ripon Christian head coach Kirk Tillema said. “They just would not give up and I am so proud of them.
“Kelsey (Tillema) went down early in the third quarter, and other players just stepped it up big.”
Kelsey, who had a season-low four points due to limited playing time, saw her high school career flash before her eyes when an inadvertent swipe at the ball after a Wilton Christian rebound fouled her out with 4:49 left in the third. The Patriots held a one-point lead, until Boersma took upon the scoring load, knocking down a 3-pointer for her first points of the game.
“I was a little nervous at first because Kelsey Tillema is the one who puts the points on the board for us,” Boersma said. “But I had confidence in the other girls that we would be able to pull it through.
“We lost to them two years ago in the same game, so we really wanted to win this game.”
The Knights’ upset will undoubtedly shake up the remainder of the Division V bracket while also extending their season by landing a berth in the NorCal Tournament.
The final seconds of the overtime los signaled the end of an impressive Wilton Christian season, forcing a team that has played deep into the past few postseasons to watch the Ripon Christian faithful erupt in celebration.
“The difference was they had a deeper bench than we did,” Wilton Christian head coach Kirt Duncan said. “I lost all three of my post players, so I had two players playing out of position. Give them credit, they hit their free throws.
“I hate to see anybody lose a game like this; it was a greatly played game.”
Ripon Christian did a phenomenal job holding Patriot leading scorer Kendra Jeffcott in check, silencing her to just nine points until a 3-pointer tied the score 39-39 with 6.8 remaining in regulation. Jeffcott would only score one point in the bonus period, finishing with 13 -- well below her 19-plus points per game average.
The Knights didn’t show signs of being outmatched, never trailing by more than five points at any point in the contest. Janelle Engel nailed a 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter, giving Ripon Christian momentum that would last for the contest.
Mikaela Alger and Raeann De Rousse played key roles down the stretch for the Knights, battling a lengthier Patriot frontcourt in the paint, and more than held their own.
“We heard from the beginning that they had a lot of height,” Alger said. “We knew that we were going to have to be tough and crash those boards as hard as we could. After Kelsey fouled out, we knew we would have to go even harder.
“It was a real encouragement for us to step up and play as hard as we did.”
Alger closed the contest with eight points and 11 boards, and De Rousse added a team-high 11 points, including nine points in the fourth period and overtime.
Boersma finished with nine points and seven assists, while Langford added eight points and Engel chipped in with six.
Now Ripon Christian will meet up with the Turlock Christian Tuesday after its 70-18 win over Sacramento Adventist, with a trip to Arco Arena hanging in the balance.
“We’re going to face one of two tough teams up at Galt,” Tillema said. “So I think we’ll treasure this one for a few days, but then we need to get right back to work.
“Maybe this group is not finished yet.