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Knights kick off TVL season with victory
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RIVERBANK – Ripon Christian got the performance coach Ron Vander Molen was looking for in its Trans Valley League opener, taking care of the Riverbank Bruins with ease  64-53 Tuesday.

The Knights (1-0 TVL, 14-2 overall) came out focused from the opening tip, jumping out to a comfortable 12-2 lead after one and never relinquishing their grasp.

“Last year, with these seniors, we said we had to take it one game at a time and they bought into that,” Vander Molen said. “I’m trying to sell that to them again this year, and it looks like they were focused for Riverbank. They know we have a big game against Escalon on Friday, and they’re going to be tough to beat at their place.

“It was nice to see that we weren’t looking past Riverbank and not focusing everything on Escalon. We only have 10 league games, so every one is important.”

Tyler Goslinga led the charge with 21 points and teammate Daniel Van De Pol finished with 20. Van De Pol played an integral part in the Knights’ hot start, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the first half. Steve Vander Molen chipped in 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Logan Vos added a baker’s dozen.

The Knights did an excellent job on Bruin scoring machine Zach Gonzalez, holding him to just six points in over the first three periods. Vander Molen had the task of checking Gonzales, doing so phenomenally until picking up is fourth foul early in the final period. Gonzales would then get loose for nine points, finishing with 15 and a quiet evening.

Ripon Christian will make the short trek to Escalon to take on the Cougars Friday.

Ripon 54, Hughson 38
HUGHSON – The Ripon Indians’ toughest battle was out of their control, getting hammered by a flu bug, but handling the Hughson Huskies with relative ease in a 54-28 Trans Valley League opening win Tuesday.

Ripon (1-0, 9-9) turned to an unsuspecting source for the bulk of its assistance to the team’s leading scorer Matt Ratto. Ratto was one of a few Indians fighting with flu symptoms, but still managed to turn in 19 points on five 3-pointers.

Teammate Caleb Christian took the opportunity to make his best contribution of the season, finishing with a game-high 20 points in his first start of the season. Christian played the savior role for Ripon, matching Ratto with five 3-pointers in his first extended minutes since coming off a non-league injury.

“We figured we get somewhere around eight to 10 points from Caleb on the season,” Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “He was going to be our quiet producer, a guy who has a big game here and a big game there.

“We’re hoping for more of these types of games out of him and coming off of an injury, this was a great confidence booster.”

Ripon pushed ahead for good by outscoring the Huskies 23-13 in the second period. Ratto scored 11 of his 19 during the run and Christian poured in eight.

The Indians will be back on the court Friday when they travel to Riverbank to take on the Bruins. Ripon will hope to be healthier as a team, but will have to be ready for a talented Bruin team healthy or not.

“We know they’re going to come out with pressure,” Wright said. “We just have to take care of the basketball and not let their perimeter shooting get too hot too quickly.”