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BOYS HOOPS: Ripon, Ripon Christian stumble in semifinals
Bulletin boys basketball 2018-19
Ripon’s Troy Brogan floats up a shot above Liberty Ranch defender Jaime Gonzalez in Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal action Wednesday. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

Things were looking good out of the gate for Ripon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal game Wednesday night against top-seeded Liberty Ranch in Galt.
With an 11-5 lead and control of the tempo, the Indians seemed poised and steady and looked in form to make a serious challenge for the blue banner.
Then Liberty Ranch showed up.
With a 23-4 run swinging the momentum back in their favor, the Hawks took the lead and soared to a 72-51 victory. They advance to the section championship against Sonora on Friday at the Golden 1 Center.
With the loss, the No. 4 Indians (19-12) will retool and wait for this weekend when they get their draw for the CIF Northern California tournament, taking things back to the basics as they look to rebuild following the crushing defeat.
“They were just really good tonight,” said Ripon head coach Justin Graham of Liberty Ranch. “We came out playing well, but they just went on a huge run and pressed us and forced us to make some mistakes.
“One of the things that held us back tonight was the ‘loud’ turnovers — the turnovers that lead to easy shots and easy buckets for them. And we just couldn’t recover after those started mounting up.”
Part of what made things difficult for Ripon, Graham said, was Liberty Ranch’s focus on senior center Vincent Olmo, who finished the game with only 11 points. By taking their big man out of the equation, the Hawks (29-2) forced Ripon to turn to the perimeter where shots did not fall like they have been of late. Only four shots from beyond the 3-point arc fell for the Indians.
Baz Cheema led the Indians in scoring with 15 points, while Nico Ilardi finished with 11.
“We’ve just got to get back and do the same things that we’ve been doing, which is what we didn’t do tonight,” Graham said. “Obviously, our guys are a little bit down right now, but I think that if we do what we’ve been successful at — playing inside-out and producing sound, fundamental plays — we can be a tough matchup for anybody at Division IV or Division V.
“We have to be able hit from outside and control with Vince from the inside, and that’s what we have to work on getting back to. Come Monday we need to be excited to get back to work.”

Division V
Brookside Christian 72,
Ripon Christian 60

Fourth-seeded Ripon Christian (20-10) struggled with the speed and balance of No. 1 Brookside Christian (25-3), which built a 35-23 halftime lead at St. Mary's High of Stockton.
 “Brookside Christian played a very fast game and really hurt us on the boards,” Ripon Christian head coach Mark Hoffman said. “We kept cutting it to eight. Cade (Alger) kept us in the game with his scoring and rebounding, but we just couldn’t get over that deficit.”
Alger led Ripon Christian in scoring with 23 points, while Will Gilbert finished with 13 points. Brookside Christian, in comparison, had four players break the double-digit mark, including Rubio de la Rosa and George Carter, who finished with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Brookside plays second-seeded Argonaut in the title game Friday night starting 7 p.m. at Golden 1 Center.