RIPON – The Ripon Christian Knights may not have been at their best in Thursday’s Trans-Valley League clash against visiting Hughson, but they did battle back after surviving an early cold spell.
Still, it wasn’t enough.
With Jessica Garcia leading the way, the Huskies prevailed, 47-43.
“We didn’t come out and play our defense,” RC coach Ed Mulder said. “We also didn’t block out (on rebounding). As a result, they had a lot of second-chance baskets. That was the difference in the game.”
Ripon Christian got off to a rocky start, falling behind 12-0 and was down 31-16 at the midway point of the second quarter.
“We just didn’t play well early on,” said Mulder.
The Knights (3-2 TVL, 12-4 overall) climbed back in the game by pounding the ball inside to Carly Tillema and Pamela Radach.
Tillema, who had a team-high 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four blocks, put her team ahead briefly by converting pass from Jessica Van Vliet into a bucket at the 6:16 mark in the fourth.
However, Hughson (3-2 TVL, 6-9 overall) responded with a basket from Savannah Ahumada and a three-point play converted by Garcia, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
“We needed this game,” Hughson coach Mark Perry said.
He praised Garcia, who played stellar defense to match her offensive output.
“She’s a tough matchup for everyone,” said Perry. “Jessica is a special player.”
With the win, Hughson created a logjam – along with RC and Ripon – for second place in the TVL behind Riverbank.
The Huskies did that when Ahumada and Garcia both hit treys to ignite the opening run. RC finally scored when Nicole Graham hit all three of her free throws. Tillema chipped in by converting on the three-point play.
The Knights finally got their offense untracked late in the second quarter with an 11-5 run.
That momentum spilled over to the second half as Radach scored on the inside bucket and Elisabeth Regusci struck one from behind the arc.
As the third quarter ended, RC chipped down the deficit, 40-37.
Graham had a quick bucket to open the final period. Tillema’s shot moments later put the Knights ahead for the first and only time of the game.
As it turned out, the Huskies closed out with a 7-2 run.
“As a team, we played well in spurts. We also had our lapses,” said Perry.
Ahumada finished with 12 for Hughson.
For Ripon Christian, Radach chipped in with 8 points and seven rebounds.
Ripon 46, Escalon 9
In Ripon, the Indians snapped a three-game losing streak in a big way.
Zaire Davis outscored the Cougars by herself, netting 15 points in the rout. Ripon (3-2, 11-10) limited Escalon to just one point in the second half.
“Our defense and our pressure got to them in the beginning of the game,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “We had good looks at the basket and we made some good shots.”
Ripon Christian 45, Hughson 35
The Knights improved to 5-1 thanks to Molly Hoeksema, who led the way with 19 points.