RIPON — Derek Wright was feeling it.
During halftime warm-ups.
The head coach’s son then stole the show in garbage time on a night when Ripon drained 14 3-pointers, hitting the team’s final two for his first points of the season in a 79-49 thrashing of Hilmar on Tuesday.
“Everything was going in at halftime and I was hoping that I could get to play in the fourth quarter,” Wright said. “I’m happy that it went in.”
Brendan Fugit found Wright open in the left wing for the 3, which gave Ripon its largest lead at 76-43 with 3:35 left and drew the loudest reaction of the night from the home crowd at North Gym. A little over a minute later, Wright banked in his next attempt from long range, and on Ripon’s ensuing possession he had a shot rim out.
“I was pretty mad about that,” Wright said. “I could have went 3 for 3.”
There otherwise wasn’t much to be mad about for these Indians (6-0, 17-4 overall), who have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the Trans-Valley League. Second-place Hilmar (4-2, 12-8) falls two games back of what is becoming a one-team race.
Ripon rolled to an early 10-0 lead and rode the hot hands of Kyle Sisk and Noah Hernandez from there. They each poured in 22 points, with Sisk accounting for six of the team’s 3-pointers and Hernandez making three of his own. Sisk was 5 for 6 from beyond the arc in the first half and splashed down four of them in the second quarter alone, helping the Indians open up a 39-21 lead.
It’s the most 3s Ripon has made in a game since converting 14 in a 95-51 blowout of Mt. Eden back in 2004.
“We were just on fire tonight,” Sisk said. The 6-foot junior guard also racked up seven assists, seven rebounds and four steals.
Sisk epitomized Ripon’s all-around dominance and unselfish play. The Indians totaled 21 assists and had four players in double figures, including Cole Stevens (12 points, six assists) and Aaron Paschini (11 points). Anthony Sisk grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Paschini had a few early highlights, including a coast-to-coast sequence starting with an interception on one end and a one-handed dunk on the other. In the second quarter, Kyle Sisk forced a turnover and fed Paschini with an alley-oop delivery for an easy layup.
“That was by far the most unselfish our team has played all year,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “The ball movement, the execution of the plays that were set up for this specific game all led to a lot of open shots that were in rhythm.
“Kyle had the hot hand and it was good to see because we’ve been waiting for that. We see it in practice all the time, we just haven’t seen it in a game for a while.”
Hilmar struggled to keep up with the torrid pace set by the Indians. Jonas Tate led the Yellowjackets with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but 6-foot-5 standout Kole Gaglio was limited to a single point in the second half and settled for 13. Xavier Burke chipped in 10, eight coming in the second half.
As impressive as Ripon was offensively, the wire-to-wire effort on defense can’t be overlooked. Ripon was on its way to a lopsided win over rival Ripon Christian last Friday but allowed a 20-point advantage dwindle down to four in the fourth quarter.
“That was the biggest key to the game,” Kyle Sisk said. “We shut them down. They couldn’t get anything going.”
As for the late-game star, the younger Wright still has a ways to go to top his dad.
“I had 10 off the bench my senior year against Orestimba in the other (Abeyta-Hortin) gym,” coach Wright said.
Ripon 73, Hilmar 20
Baz Cheema tallied 14 points and six assists, while twin brother Raz added 10 points and five steals as the Indians cruised to a running-clock win.
Justin Hansen shared game-high honors with 14 points and six assists. Spencer Schroen had 12 points and five boards, and Adam Wood chimed in with 11 points.
Ripon 73, Hilmar 23
It was all Ripon (6-0, 18-1) from the start, as the Indians rallied for a staggering 32-4 first-quarter lead.
Dorian Dougherty fired 17 points, and Troy Brogan finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Grant Wiebe (seven steals) and Aiden Benzinger added nine points apiece.