RIPON – One team opened the CIF State Basketball Championships with inspired play from the opening whistle. The other team simply got into the flow of the game a little too late.
Ripon Christian was the former, advancing into the state playoff’s second round with a 50-41 victory over the University Red Devils Wednesday in the championships’ opening round.
The Knights put together an impressive first quarter, dominating on both ends of the court. Ripon Christian tightened its grip in the quarter’s final 14 seconds, getting back-to-back 3-pointers Jenny Wickham, including a half-court buzzer-beater.
“We played really well in the first half,” Ripon Christian head coach Ed Mulder said. “At halftime we talked about defense and how that was going to win the game. The second half was a little bit disappointing offensively, but the first half the girls really came out ready to play.”
Ripon Christian (22-5) caught a break early when University captain Amelia King was called for her second personal foul in that pivotal first quarter. King made her presence felt down the stretch, finishing with a game-high 18 points.
“She picked up a couple of fouls early and had to sit most of that first quarter,” University head coach Jason Montana said. “But, in all honesty, we just didn’t come out with the right intensity in the first half.
“The second half was great, unfortunately, we dug ourselves a hole.”
The Knights were led by Kaylie Colyn’s 13 points, followed by Morgan Alger’s 10. Both Mikayla Manus and Mikaela Alger both chipped in with eight. Ripon Christian displayed balanced scoring in each of the four quarters, getting points from seven players on the roster.
“We are an all around good team,” Colyn said. “We all are good shooters and we all play good defense. Our main thing is defense. We had to stop them on offense, because our offense, if we swing it around a couple of times and work the clock we’ll be pretty good.”
Ripon Christian continues its season Saturday in the state playoff against Division-V No. 2 seed Eastside Prep in East Pala Alto. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.