Troy Brogan knows how to turn a game around in a hurry.
After six lead changes and three ties in the final 10 minutes of the first half, Ripon turned a four-point halftime lead over visiting Escalon into 11 points going into the final period before going ice cold.
With 2:16 left in the game, the Indians had managed just one point in nearly three minutes and allowed the Cougars within four points when Brogan cut up the middle and took a feed from Nico Ilardi, slamming home a dunk and bringing the home crowd to its feet on the way to a thrilling 75-69 Trans-Valley League win for Ripon.
“That was a monster play for us,” Indians coach Justin Graham said. “There was about two minutes left in the game and it put us up by six and obviously it got the crowd back into it.
“When we pulled away in the second half we had like six assists in the third quarter. The guys were playing together and making the extra passes and taking care of business. The really didn’t care who scored.”
Brogan (10 points, three assists) picked the right time to come up with his first career dunk.
“When we attack baseline the cuts have been open,” Brogan said. “I have been working on that in practice. I have always been able to dunk since my sophomore year, but this was my first one in a game and it felt really good.
“We were struggling and that helped us get momentum. That and free throws at the end that sealed the game.”
Ilardi had seven of his 16 points in the 22-point third period for the Indians (3-1 TVL, 8-11 overall).
“Coach always preaches that when you drive baseline to look for the guy cutting down the middle,” Ilardi said. “Troy was there like he was supposed to be and he threw it down.
“That really gave us a boost. It got the crowd awake again and everyone got all hyped after that.”
Ripon made eight out of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, with the final two by Brayden Haines (three rebounds, two assists, two steals) coming with six seconds remaining in the game.
Haines hit four 3-pointers as part of his game-high 18 points.
“We have a thing called licenses,” Haines said. “You can have a license to shoot if you’re open.
“And when you’re open, you can let it spray.”
Where the Indians had a balanced attack with eight players scoring, Escalon (1-2, 11-8) had just four players scoring with Russell Weinbrecht (33 points) and Brenden Holmes (26 points) scoring all but 10 of their team’s points.
Ripon faces Modesto High this afternoon at 4 in the MLK shootout at Modesto Christian High School.
Ripon 61, Escalon 52
The Cougars exploded for 29 first-quarter points but could only put up 12 total points in the second and third periods.
Anthony Sausedo led the Indians with 13 points followed by 11 apiece for Jack Manning and Landen West with 11 points apiece and Jacob Wallace with 10 points.