RIPON — The Justin Graham era has officially begun.
Following a storied prep career at Ripon High, Graham returned to the Indians two years ago to serve as an assistant alongside long-time head coach Rod Wright. Graham assumed the reins Saturday night and did so in dramatic fashion, directing the Indians to a 55-41 non-league win over Patterson.
“This feels good,” Graham said. “A friend of mine is the baseball coach here and he texted me and wished me luck.”
Ripon (1-0) went cold a bit in the third period with the Tigers (0-1) closing a 28-19 halftime deficit to just 31-29 before the Indians exploded on a 16-0 run to put the game away. Ripon led 47-29 midway through the third quarter before Patterson hit four 3-pointers in a row to make the score closer than the game was.
“We finally got aggressive,” Graham said of his team’s second-half run. “We had been shooting and missing 3s, and I told the guys to get aggressive and take it to the hoop”
Vincent Olmo paced the Indians with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“On offense we knew we had to execute,” Olmo said. “We just got our football players back today and we were a little rusty, so we have to work on our execution.”
Malik Taylor (12 points) and Nico Ilardi (10 points) had three assists each for Ripon. Troy Brogan chipped in nine points and five rebounds.
“I have to get a little more use to the fast-paced offense,” Taylor said of the move up to the varsity as a sophomore. “Just working on moving my feet — the simple stuff.”
Manteca 90, West 65
The Buffaloes (1-0) used a 10-point run to spark a 24-10 third quarter and pull away for the win.
“This was a nice way to set the tone,” Lewis said. “This is what we wanted to do.
“We were a little sloppy at first with some foul trouble and some stupid mistakes we made because we haven’t played until today. In the second half we stayed out of foul trouble and played well.”
Manteca’s Jorge Cedano (five rebounds, four assists) showed little rust from coming out late due to football, scoring 22 of his 24 points in the first half.
“This year during football I got in the gym because I didn’t last year and I was a little rusty to start last season,” Cedano said. “I didn’t want that to happen again.
“We have Elk Grove up next week and we are going to have to work on our defense before we play them.”
Jordan Burciaga (17 points, nine rebounds), Nick Bell (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Rashawn Ballard (13 points) rounded out the Buffaloes attack.
“We moved the ball pretty good,” Burciaga said. “Coach says to swing it and if we can’t swing it we hit the post.
“We were able to get guys open and get the open shots.”
Alfred Robinson tallied 15 points for the Wolf Pack and Elias Woodward added 14 points.
Sierra 72, Christian Brothers 48
The Timberwolves (1-0) outrebounded the Falcons (0-1) 31-20 and held Christian Brothers to single digits in first and third periods.
“They were missing a couple of guys tonight,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “They are going to get a lot better as the season goes on. They are well coached, scrappy and have good guard play. I knew coming in we matched up well with them and I thought our post guys could go to work and we saw that with Eduardo (Jasso), John (Elijah), Jaedon (Malone) and Romeo (Sesma) and those guys. They were pit bulls around the basket.
“There are always things you can clean up. There were some sloppy turnovers here and there and I thought that we allowed too much penetration on the baseline all night. But I am proud of our effort. It was a good start. You only get one home opener and we took advantage of that and now we move on.”
Jasso put up a double-double, dominating in the paint with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had a good game plan coming into this game,” Jasso said. “Coach said we had to be scrappy on defense.
“We executed our plays, played great defense and came up with the win.”
Marginalized by an injury last season, Elijah looked very healthy with 13 points and six rebounds.
“I just try to do whatever it takes to get the win,” Elijah said. “Whether that’s making defensive plays or getting the bucket down in the post, I’m just trying to get the win.”
Kendrick Currey added 10 points and five assists while Carl Rice chipped in nine points and eight rebounds.
Angelo Butler and Kevin Rios led Christian Brothers with nine points each.
Ripon 64, Patterson 53 (OT)
Aaron Wood converted a three-point play late in the fourth quarter for the Indians to force overtime and came up with two big blocks in the extra period.
Brayden Hains led the Indians with 19 points. Landon Stevens added 13 points and Landon West had 11 points.
Christian Brothers 48, Sierra 34
Evien Davis paced the Timberwolves with eight points.
Manteca 54, West 41
Ryan Inderbitzin and Sebastian Salazario led the attack for the Buffaloes.
Christian Brothers 57, Sierra 25
Luke Abrew led the Timberwolves with six points.