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Knights Clipped
Missed opportunity at charity stripe dooms Ripon Christians comeback effort
Ripon Christian’s Steve Vander Molen finds some shooting space in Friday’s TVL action against Riverbank. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – It was the type of moment that most athletes would dream to find themselves in.

After being down by as many as 12 points to the visiting Riverbank Bruins, Ripon Christian rallied back to put itself back into the mix in the fourth quarter thanks a solid defensive outing and plenty of six-foot, eight-inch Tyler Goslinga – who stepped to the free throw line with just over one second remaining with a chance to tie the game.

After sinking the first free throw, Goslinga hit the back of the rim on the second and a Riverbank rebound secured a stunning 52-51 victory for the Bruins – handing Ripon Christian their second Trans Valley League loss this week.

“It was like we set ourselves up for this,” said Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen. “After playing Modesto Christian so well earlier this week, I told our guys that we can’t look past anybody. You could tell that we just came out thinking only about next week and Escalon and completely underestimated Riverbank.

“They had a game plan, they knew who they were going to get the ball to, and they executed it. I give them credit. It’s just too late in the season for us to be learning lessons like this.”

The Bruins established their lead in the game’s second quarter – spearheaded by the back-to-back Manuel Jiminez shots from beyond the arc.

Riverbank’s Alex Reynaga would top that mark in the third quarter when he buried three deep shots in a strike that prevented the Knights from surging back after a mediocre first half left them slightly stunned.

But down the stretch the Knights (6-2 TVL, 15-5 overall) were hard to top.

Daniel Van De Pol sunk two impressive shots early in the fourth quarter to cut the Riverbank (2-4, 11-11) lead to only five points while Goslinga pounded away at the inside boards with crucial layups that prevented the Bruins from closing the door completely.

After Riverbank failed to convert on back-to-back bonus shots with only a two point lead, Ripon Christian found itself in a position to force an overtime period – feeding the ball inside on a possession that would include a Goslinga rebound and follow-up that ended in a foul and sent him to the line for the game-deciding free throws.

“We can’t fault Tyler for what happened – it was a team loss and I think that there were plenty of chances for us to have never been in that position,” Vanden Molen said. “I felt like we played that second half the way that we should have played the entire game, and unfortunately that’s just not what happened.”

Goslinga finished the game with a double-double on 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knights in offensive production. Dylan Van Vliet finished with nine points, while Daniel Van De Pol finished with seven points.

The Knights started the week ranked first in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Power Rankings as they round the corner into the season’s home stretch.