RIPON — It took a quarter, but the Ripon girls basketball team finally caught on to Kayla Jacklich’s example.
In opening-round action of the Ripon Winter Classic on Friday against Big Valley Christian of Modesto, Jacklich came off the bench in the second quarter to put in eight points, grab seven rebounds and block a shot to give the Indians momentum they would run with in the second half on the way to a 56-26 thumping of the Lions at Ripon High.
“I felt that coming off of the bench I wanted to come out stronger,” Jacklich said. “I thought we worked really hard together.
“We talked, and we don’t usually talk that much. Us working harder together is making us better as a team.”
Leading 26-17 at halftime, Ripon (5-1) picked up in the third quarter where Jacklich (10 points, eight rebounds) left off in the second. The Indians outscored Big Valley Christian 23-5 in the third period.
“Kayla (Jacklich) brings a lot of energy to our team,” Ripon coach Rick Inderbitzin said. “She puts a lot of pressure on ball handlers and she does a really good job of defending and mixing it up for rebounds.
“She is a pretty good spark for us.”
The Indians held the Lions (3-5) to just three field goals in the second half.
“I thought our help defense did a really good job in the second half, more so than we have all year,” Inderbitzin said. “We finally got the concept of what we were trying to do and we did a much better job of keeping the ball in front of us.”
Joining Jacklich with high-point honors was teammate Reina Sausedo with 10 points and three steals. Sausedo made eight of her points in the third period.
“We started playing more as a team in the third quarter,” Sausedo said. “And I felt more confident when I was driving toward the basket.”
The Ripon defense was tenacious in the third period, forcing 10 turnovers. Big Valley Christian turned the ball over 18 times total.
Mia Van Lewen added eight points for the Indians and Janessa Inderbitzin snagged five second-half rebounds. Ripon won the battle of the boards 35-22.
Brenna Rice had seven points for the Lions and Anabelle Camoirano had eight rebounds.
The Indians face Bret Harte of Angels Camp for the championship today at 3:30 p.m.