Sac-Joaquin Section title No. 11 is within reach for Ripon Christian following its 72-35 dismantling of Alpha Charter on Tuesday, but the Knights are nowhere near satisfied yet.
The top-seeded squad and heavy favorite in the Division VI bracket is guarding against complacency heading into Thursday’s title game at Golden 1 Center.
“We talked about playing to our standard,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’re playing yourself and what you think you’re capable of. I told them to put a blanket over the scoreboard and keep playing defense.
“As you go on in the playoffs the teams get better and better, so we need to stay sharp.”
Things couldn’t have gone much better for Ripon Christian (22-7) on Tuesday, as they shut out the No. 5-seeded Angels (16-10) of Elverta in the opening quarter and raced to a 44-8 halftime lead.
The Knights reserves had ample playing time in the second half, though the running clock was enforced in the final period.
Will Gilbert scored all of his game-high 17 points in the first half, Braden Van Groningen tallied 12 and Reed Vander Hoek had 10. Ten different Knights contributed with points, while Jason Underwood was Alpha’s lone double-digit scorer with 15.
“Defensively we played well, but we are going to have to shoot better,” Hofman said. “We didn’t shoot great from the outside. Everything else was great — defense, rebounding, transition both ways. We’re getting back in the gym tomorrow to work on our shooting.”
Ripon Christian is preparing to face off with No. 2 Stockton Christian (28-1), which held off No. 3 Foresthill, 73-68. Tipoff for the championship game is scheduled for noon on Thursday.