Ripon High and Ripon Christian have high hopes for the 2011-12 boys basketball season.
The Indians of Ripon boast experience, unselfishness and certain toughness that could spell trouble for the rest of the Trans-Valley League.
Ripon Christian, meanwhile, will look to build on an undefeated run through its first season back in the Southern League. The Knights were also one of the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V led by standout Logan Vos and a strong supporting cast.
Vos has since graduated, but the cupboard isn’t exactly empty at RC — although, it may have seemed that way in recent weeks as the majority of the squad was still playing out the football season for the Knights.
“We were practicing with only four guys,” RC coach Ron Vander Molen said.
His squad of 11 players features a combination of size, versatility, experience, and promise.
Leading the charge is Danny Vos – Logan’s brother – who played point guard a year ago as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1 junior quarterbacked RC to the second round of the playoffs and will be counted on to serve as the catalyst on the hardwood.
“Danny is the one who can make things happen,” said Vander Molen on Wednesday.
Vos could look to the inside to either Jordan or Jared Goslinga. Both are 6-5 seniors. Jordan plays center while Jared is a forward.
“I’m hopeful that Jordan and Jared will help carry the scoring load,” the Knights coach said.
Coach Vander Molen is hoping to get balanced scoring from the likes of Josh Van Groningen (6-3 senior guard), James Vander Schaaf (6-1 senior forward), and John Vander Molen (6-1 junior guard).
“I think it will be important that we take advantage of the other team’s weaknesses,” he added.
Coach Rod Wright is high on this year’s squad at Ripon, and why wouldn’t he be?
Jake McCreath, a 6-3 power forward/center, is back for a third season on the varsity team and is joined by 6-2 senior Greg Taylor and 6-0 senior Conner Jones in the post.
“They’re wide bodies who work at getting boards and boxing out,” Wright said on Wednesday.
Josh McCreath (6-0 guard), Cole Herrin (6-0 guard), and Kyle Wengel (5-8 wing) are seasoned juniors. All three played on last year’s 17-12 squad as sophomores.
Herrin developed during the season.
“He got better and better,” Wright said of his point guard. “He had to direct the team.
“Cole is fast, quick and makes good decision – he also helped out the offense with his shooting.”
Wright is hoping that Herrin along with the younger McCreath and Wengel can fill the void on offense caused by the departure of Jared Ratto and Andy Bunting, who both graduated.
Other key players early on will be Henk Gaalswyk (6-0 junior) and Anthony Baciocco (5-6 junior).
“I love the blend I have on this year’s team,” Wright said. “These guys are unselfish, they root on each other, and they play hard.
“There are no individuals.”