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Goslinga, Knights win free-throw battle in crunchtime
Ripon High’s Tyler Poole ventures into the paint where 6-foot-8 Ripon Christian center Tyler Goslinga awaits. For additional photos, visit - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD
RIPON — Ripon Christian had the right guy at the right spot with the game still on the line with 3 seconds left against host Ripon.

It was just two weeks ago that Tyler Goslinga hit 14 of 15 from the stripe but missed the game-tying free throw with a second remaining in a 52-51 upset loss to Riverbank.

But Tuesday night, the 6-foot-8 Ripon Christian center finally got his redemption by hitting both of his clutch free-throw attempts that sealed the Knights’ 57-52 Trans Valley League victory loaded with playoff implications.

Goslinga, who started off slow with only one field goal, eventually regained his normal form and racked up 18 points and six rebounds.

“We really had the wrong guy shooting the ball tonight,” Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We should have been feeding it inside to Tyler (Goslinga), but that didn’t happen and we had guys step up and make some key shots for us.

“It was hard for us to keep up with Ripon’s tempo, and I think a lot can be said about that team and what they brought tonight.”

Ripon Christian (6-3, 19-5 overall) came out firing in the first quarter with Logan Vos burying two shots from beyond the 3-point arc and adding another in the second quarter on his way to a 13-point performance.

But the damage for Ripon (5-4, 13-13) came in the second quarter when it was outscored 21-14 and was forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the contest.

With 5:30 to play in regulation and the game tied at 46-46, the Knights made the most of their free throws down the stretch during both bonus and double-bonus time.

“We just couldn’t convert when we wanted to and they did, and it really mattered there at the end,” Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “We had a lot of shots that were ringers in and out, but just shot better than we did tonight. It was all about making adjustment.”

Matt Ratto finished with 20 points and sophomore Tyler McCreath pulled down nine rebounds.

“McCreath is a beast, and he’s only a sophomore,” Wright said. “When we put him out there with the freshman post player (Dante Machado) that was on the court tonight, we can see that we’re going to have some good players in the future.”

Ripon Christian’s postseason berth is all but sealed with the No. 2 ranking in its grasp according to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff power ratings. A loss to league champion Modesto Christian Friday wouldn’t drop the Knights much further.

Ripon, on the other hand, may have to beat Escalon Friday to get in. Ripon is No. 12 in Division IV, and Escalon is on the bubble at 16.

“When we play on Friday it’s basically going to be a playoff game,” Wright said. “We’ll have two days to get ready to go and then its game-time — that’s when we’re going to have to put our game face on.”