OAKDALE – Sometimes, it comes down to being in the right place at the right time.
With 4.9 seconds remaining Saturday night in the championship game of the Oakdale Rotary Classic between South Tahoe and Ripon Christian and the score tied, the Knights’ Joseph Debruyn inbounded the ball to Braden Van Groningen on the wing.
Van Groningen drove baseline and his shot off the glass with 1 second remaining was too high on the glass.
Enter Reed Van Der Hoek.
The 6-foot-7 junior forward went high on the miss and tipped it in at the buzzer to give the Knights a heart-pounding 59-57 win for the first-place trophy at Oakdale High.
“I wasn’t really part of the play to begin with,” Van Der Hoek said. “But I knew we were going to get a shot up so once that shot went up I just crashed the boards hard and shot it back up there.”
Van Groningen was the workhorse for Ripon Christian (8-3), putting up a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds. He also earned most valuable player honors for the tournament.-
“This game was tiring,” Van Groningen said. “Going back and forth up and down the court – these were really two strong, well-conditioned teams going at it. It was super fun to play in and I am sure it was super fun to watch.”
A 21-13 third quarter for the Knights helped give Ripon Christian momentum.
“This was two good teams going at it,” Knights coach Mark Hofman said. “We both made adjustments. Something may work for a while until adjustments are made, and then you have to come up with something else. It’s not quite chess, but it’s close.
“And then sometimes, you just make a play – like Reed (Van Der Hoek) with a nice, soft touch off the backboard.”
The Vikings (5-3) were not bashful about shooting 3-pointers, sinking 11 from behind the arc.
South Tahoe’s Andre Lehman (24 points) had four 3-pointers by midway through the third quarter when Hofman pulled Sean McGovern off the bench and told McGovern to shut Lehman down.
And shut Leman down he did, with no more 3’s on the night and no more points in the third period.
“Defense takes effort and a little bit of intelligence,” Hofman said. “I told Sean he could guard that guy (Lehmann). Defense takes hustle and a little bit of intelligence and Sean got it done.
“When you have three-sport athletes sometimes you have guys with specialties and Sean can play great defense.”
Lukas Van Groningen added 11 points for Ripon Christian with Jacob Van Groningen and Van Der Hoek adding eight points apiece.
Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic
Campolindo 66, Weston Ranch 42
MODESTO – Trailing just 34-27 at the half, the Cougars (4-7) managed just 15 points in the second half of the semifinal tilt.
Donjae Lindsey led Weston Ranch with 14 points and Kody Weary added 10.
“Campolindo is a very good team,” Cougars coach Chris Teevan said. “This was a tough loss.”
Weston Ranch faces Clovis West in the third-place game tonight at 6.
Bullard 69, Manteca 53
The Buffaloes (5-9) gave up 20 points in the fourth quarter to allow the Knights of Fresno (8-8) to pull away.
Manteca led 20-19 after one period behind Jordan Burciaga who scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the opening quarter.
The Buffaloes face Liberty Ranch of Galt today at noon for 11th place.
Sonora 75, Ripon 42
The Indians (3-9) led 26-23 at halftime but were outscored 42-16 in the second half.
Ripon put three players in double figures – Malik Taylor (13 points), Dorian Dougherty (11) and Troy Brogan (10).
The Indians face Beyer of Modesto in a third-round consolation game this morning at 9.
Manteca 68, Ripon 51
The Buffaloes put four players in double figures with Noah Lynn at 20 points, 12 each for Isaiah Roa and Michael Arriola and 11 for Sammy Vemul.
Anthony Sausedo scored 12 points for the Indians and Nolan Young added 11.
Gregori 47, Ripon 39
Sausedo paced the Indians and earned high-point honors with 18 points.
Sierra 50, Ripon
Young led the Indians with 10 points and got the only points for Ripon in the third quarter on a field goal.
Jacob Wallace added eight points for the Indians.