RIVERBANK — The flu bug and Riverbank couldn’t slow Ripon’s boys basketball team Friday in the Indians’ second Trans Valley League contest.
Matt Ratto, one of two starters who played sick, poured in 25 points to lead all players, and Ripon improved to 2-0 in league play after coasting past Riverbank, 60-50.
The Indians (10-9 overall) will meet three-time defending champion Modesto Christian in a first-place battle at home next Tuesday.
“It feels really good to be 2-0 despite the illnesses and having to play on the road to open league,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “Other guys that usually come off the bench got to step up a little bit this week and gave us good minutes.”
One of them was Caleb Christian, who sank four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points Friday. In Tuesday’s opener against Hughson, Christian fired in 20.
Ripon’s top post player, Kody Wengel, has also been hampered by sickness. He and Ratto missed practice Wednesday and Thursday to rest up but were consequently benched to start Friday’s contest.
But they still managed to make their presence felt. Wengel finished with eight points.
The Indians did fine to start the contest without their top players, taking a 7-4 lead before they checked in. Ripon led 14-7 after the first quarter and never trailed after that.
Manuel Jimenez buried five 3-pointers for his 15 points that spearheaded the Bruins (0-2, 9-9). Alex Reynaga pumped in 14. Riverbank’s best player, Zach Gonzales, was held to just six points but was played through a thumb injury.
Both teams hit nine 3-pointers, but the game was settled at the free-throw line where Riverbank made just one of 11 attempts. Ripon was 21-for-27.
Escalon 69, Ripon Christian 56ESCALON — Ripon Christian’s 6-foot-8 standout, Tyler Goslinga, torched Escalon in the post to the tune of 26 points, but the Knights (1-1, 14-3) had trouble containing the opposition’s balanced scoring led by its guards.
Sophomore Gino Franceschetti and Brandon Shaw scored 13 points apiece for Escalon (1-1, 12-7), 6-4 power forward Tyler Schuurman added 12 and point guard Nick Araujo finished with 11.
Logan Vos and Daniel Van De Pol turned in 12 and 10 points, respectively, for RC, which was beat in every quarter. The Knights were also an uncharacteristic 10-for-23 from the foul line.
“They were just a little better offensively than us,” Ripon Christian coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We couldn’t find a good defense to stop them. They were pretty consistent and balanced throughout, we just couldn’t find the answer.”
— Jonamar Jacinto