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BOYS HOOPS: Knights fend off pesky Huskies in league-opening win
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RIPON — Ripon Christian High ran into a scrappy Hughson squad in Tuesday's Trans-Valley League opener.
The Knights overcame a rough stretch late in the third quarter en route to a 58-41 win.
"Hughson always plays hard," said RC coach Mark Hofman, speaking on behalf of the longtime Husky tradition.
He also described his team as still trying to find its footing as several key players -- most notably, Cabe Alger, Jacob Van Groningen, and Austin Ries — were late arrivals due to the RC football team's deep playoff run.
Caleb Terpstra and Will Gilbert also played football but, out of necessity, divided their time between the two sports, according to Hofman.
The Knights (1-0 TVL, 6-4 overall) jumped out to an early lead only to see Hughson (0-1 TVL, 2-9) charge back behind the likes of lefty point guard Derek Avila and the collective hard-nosed efforts of Steven Morris, Spencer Griffen, Damien Contreras and Bryce Mendoza.
The game was tied thrice in the first half. But then RC made a move right before the half, with Terpstra, Gilbert, Alger and Van Groningen spearheading the 11-2 run.
The Knights built up on their 32-21 advantage to kick off the second half.
Gilbert had a steal and a basket while Alger netted a trey during RC's 12-5 rally.
Down 44-26, the Huskies reeled off 12 unanswered points, trimming the deficit, 44-38.
Hughson had a chance to cause even more damage but had a rough time at the free throw line. hitting 3 of 14 from the stripe including 1 of 7 during the rally that extended early into the fourth.
Van Groningen finally ended the scoreless drought by connecting on a 3.
Alger, who picked up three quick fouls in the third, hit seven of his game-high 20 points in the final quarter. The 6-foot-8 senior also had 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Gilbert chipped in with 16 points and Van Groningen, who also had eight boards, and Brock Nunes both hit for seven.
Avila led Hughson with 11 points.
RC will host Orestimba on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.