RIPON – If defense has been an issue for the Ripon Christian Knights, it was impossible to tell Saturday.
The Knights put together a clinic defensively, suffocating the Gregori Jaguars into a 64-42 defeat for the Ripon Christian basketball Tournament title in the Knights’ Gym.
Jared Goslinga provided the offensive punch to accompany a defensive performance. The Knights two-three zone flowed effortlessly, with players switching on call, contesting passing lanes and forcing turnover after turnover.
“I was really happy with our effort on defense,” Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We tried to really jump into the passing lanes when they picked up their dribble. We gave up a couple back doors, but when you get aggressive like that; those things are going to happen.”
The Knights’ length on the defensive end seemed to be magnified anytime Gregori got the ball into the key. With each turnover Ripon Christian was able to muster on defense, opportunities in offense were created in the transition.
Goslinga was the primary beneficiary, receiving perfect passes from point guard Dan Vos in stride and converting without hindrance at the basket.
“With Danny being such a good point guard, when he drives it opens the lane wide open,” Goslinga said. “And today, with it being on our home floor we had to hit this one hard, so I had to go to the bucket strong every time.”
Goslinga finished with a game-high 21 points, including 12 consecutive points during the Knights’ big first quarter. Ripon hit five 3-pointers with four different players sinking them. Vos and Goslinga both earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
Ripon 46, Highlands 30
The Indians closed out Highlands to earn the Winter Classic championship with a 46-30 win.
Ripon (3-4) got a breakout performance from senior Greg Taylor who led the club with 13 points, benefitting from the unselfish play of post-presence Jake McCreath. McCreath had seven points, dished out six assists and pulled down 14 boards.
Taylor converted in the paint and scored in transition.
“Greg ran the floor and worked hard,” Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “He was really rewarded tonight for a lot of hard work.”
Cole Herren added 11 for the Indians in the win.