Falling behind by eight points in the third quarter, No. 2 Ripon Christian closed the game out on a 9-2 run Wednesday night but came up a point short as visiting 11th-seeded Bradshaw Christian headed back to Sacramento with a thrilling 38-37 semifinal victory in Division V Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Basketball playoff action.
As a section semifinalist, the Knights qualify for the NorCal playoffs with the pairings to be announced Sunday. Meanwhile, Bradshaw Christian (11-19) plays top-seeded Denair for the division championship Saturday at Golden 1 Center starting at noon.
Down the stretch for Ripon Christian (20-8), Eli Terpsma (15 points) hit a 3-pointer and Thys Van Der Hoek (11 rebounds, two steals, block) scored four points, including a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left to come within 38-37.
The Pride committed a turnover 20 seconds later, giving the Knights one more chance. Unfortunately for Ripon Christian a last-second shot rimmed out, ending the section playoff run for the Knights.
“It can be such a small margin of victory in these playoff games,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “Any little mistake along the way could have made the difference. And then the last shot rolled out.
“Both teams played really hard and had great defense, and neither team really shot the ball very well. That’s playoff basketball – it’s a grind, it’s a war. Both teams scouted each other quite well and that’s one reason shots weren’t falling.”
The Knights took control early, leading 11-4 after the first quarter. The halftime score was tied at 18 and Bradshaw Christian took the lead for good early in the third quarter at 24-21 on a 3-pointer by Jeremy Rodriguez (eight points).
David Schuhmeier (18 points) scored all six Pride points in the fourth quarter, including a put-back on a loose ball with 2:41 remaining to make the score 38-30. Ripon Christian scored the final seven points to come within one.
“That was insane,” Bradshaw Christian coach Alex Williams said. “It was fun. They really battled.
“They have the horses and those kids are talented.”