RIPON — The Indians completed the three-peat Friday of another Trans-Valley League crown.
Ripon High did it on the home court of neighboring rival Ripon Christian, winning the high-octane contest 71-60 to capture the outright title and the program’s 10th overall.
The Knights won the first meeting 54-48 after trailing by 15 early. The rematch was a winner-take-all affair.
“Every game against them is tough — one of us could be 0-11 or 11-0 and it won’t make a difference,” said first-year Indians coach Justin Graham, a 2006 Ripon grad who experienced the rivalry as a player.
As for accomplishing the trifecta initiated by his predecessor and current assistant coach Rod Wright: “It's tough to win back-to-back (TVL) titles much less three in a row,” Graham added.
He was helped out by — no surprise — 6-foot-8 senior center Vincent Olmo, who had a team-high 20 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block, coupled with the steady outside shooting of Troy Brogan, who fired for 18 points while grabbing five boards.
But it was the unheralded players such as junior guards Danny Hernandez and Dorian Dougherty who came up big in crunch time.
“Danny is a hustle guy. His play doesn’t reflect on the stat sheet,” Graham said.
As for Dougherty, he provided a spark off the bench by hitting 10 of his 12 points in the second half. He also had a steal late in the game.
“Dorian has been great in the second half of the season,” said Graham, who will await his team’s seeding in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Ditto that for Mark Hofman, who obviously was disappointed with the outcome.
“It was our outside shooting — we missed a lot of shots,” he said.
Prior to the game, RC (10-2 TVL, 18-9 overall) recognized Brock Nunes and Cade Alger for Senior Night. The school did likewise for the Indians’ Olmo, Philip Carlson, Adam Wood, Raz Cheema and Baz Cheema.
Ripon (11-1, 17-11) forged ahead with a 12-2 run in the third quarter. Prior to that, RC had the upper hand thanks to the one-two punch of Alger and Jacob Vann Groningen.
The first half featured two ties and six lead changes. Alger, who had a breakaway slam dunk early in the game, took advantage of his 6-8 frame against the smaller Indians defenders to net eight of game-high 24 points in the second quarter.
The 6-5 Groningen had a pair of tap-in, second-chance baskets while hitting half of his 20 points in the quarter. He also grabbed 10 boards along with a block and a steal.
RC led 31-28 at the break.
But early in the third, Hernandez drove in for two followed by a corner 3 by Wood.
Hernandez, who just scored off a runner, followed that up by finding Olmo open for a trey.
Nico Ilardi had a steal and found Brogan for a quick two, giving the Indians a 40-33 advantage.
Olmo and Wood, who delivered another 3, helped keep Ripon on top, 49-40.
Late in the third, Dougherty scored on a back-door cut.
“I was honored that the coach called my name to get in (this crucial) game,” he said. “I just wanted to help the team in any way possible.”
Although he missed on and-one free throw, Dougherty kept the pressure on the Knights, hitting a runner followed by pull-up jumper, the aforementioned steal, and a drive to the hoop.
By then, the Indians had a 66-55 lead going into the final two minutes.
“Our focus now is playoffs,” said Graham, who took time to celebrate another TVL title with his team.
Ripon Christian 76, Ripon 71
Lukas Van Groningen scored 30 points in leading the Knights (10-2, 17-6) over rival Ripon.
Joseph DeBruyn added 18 in the win.
Aaron Wood led the Indians with 15 points while Landon Stevens and Brayden Haines both netted 14 in the losing effort.