All that matters is who leads at the end. For the Ripon Christian girls’ basketball team, that is a good thing.
Saturday night in their cross-town tussle with host Ripon High, before the overtime period the Knights led just once at 2-0 and trailed by six points midway through the fourth quarter. Ripon Christian closed the game on an 8-2 run to force a fifth period where the Knights outscored the Indians 6-0 for a 45-39 non-league win.
“We were just not hitting our shots early on,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “This is a rivalry game and they have beaten us the last three years, so they were emotionally ready to play. But sometimes you can get too amped up.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well for most of the game.
It took a clutch performance by the Indians’ Adri Van Groningen to get the game to overtime. With 1:06 showing on the fourth-quarter clock and having missed two of her last three free three throws, Van Groningen netted two in a row to tie the game at 39. Ripon (7-13) had an opportunity to take a late lead but missed a free throw to send the game to a fifth period.
“I was pretty nervous,” Van Groningen said. “I’m not going to lie.
“But we shoot a lot of free throws in practice and I just had to concentrate and not focus on the fans or anything else. I knew I had to make them.”
Amber Hilvers took the game over for Ripon Christian (16-4) in overtime. Hilvers (12 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three steals) scored four of her team’s six overtime points and had an assist on the other basket to Teagan Manus (11 points, three assists, three steals).
“The end was really stressful with a lot of adrenaline,” Hilvers said. “I have the faith in my team that I thought we were going to pull through.”
While the Indians were in control most of the game, that control slipped away late in the fourth quarter. They turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes of overtime and never recovered.
“We had chances at the end,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “They came back and out-hustled us in overtime. They got a couple of loose balls and that turned the tide.”
Four of the Indians’ losses have been by three points or less and four more have been by single digits.
“We have many losses that were one-point losses,” Contente said. “And a few more that were by less than 10.”
Ripon’s Kelsey Alexander earned high-point honors with 13 and teammate Morgan Carrico had seven rebounds.
Ripon Christian 14
The Knights were held to four points or less in each period.
Courtney Sizmon and Hailey Monroe shared high-point honors for the Indians with nine each. Jessica Orozco, Lauren Devries and Julia Ray all scored four points apiece.
Ripon Christian 25
In the fourth quarter neither team managed a field goal and the Indians outscored the Knights 3-2.
Ripon’s Felicia Ceja earned high-point honors with 10. For Ripon Christian, Abby Buitrago had nine points and nine steals and Beth Weststeyn had eight points and 11 rebounds.