RIPON – After sprinting out of the gate to an early 10-point lead, the Ripon Christian Knights started putting all of the pieces together in their Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff opener Wednesday against visiting Stone Ridge Christian (12-10) of Merced.
With early shots from Daniel Van De Pol and Logan Vos helping Ripon Christian gain a clear advantage, the Knights (21-6) kept pouring it on, eventually emptying their bench and giving sophomore call-ups the chance to close out the 66-31 victory over.
Second-seeded Ripon Christian will now face No. 10 Forest Lake Christian which upset No. 7 Sacramento Adventist, 43-40, Wednesday – on Friday night at home for a chance to advance to the semi finals and qualify for NorCals.
“I thought that we didn’t come out as sharply as I would have liked us to tonight,” Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We didn’t scout them, so we didn’t really know what they were going to throw at us, but in the end we got it done and I was pleased to see that.
“Any time you get a chance to get everybody in the game it’s a good thing, and we got our young guys in there late in the game to finish it out for us.”
It was 6-foot, 8-inch Tyler Goslinga who led Ripon Christian’s offensive charge with 13 points, while Vos – who also had a solid defensive night with four rebounds and a blocked shot – finished with 12 points.
Steve Vander Molen eight points to the team’s total while pulling in seven rebounds. Freshman John Vander Molen came off the bench in the fourth quarter to drop an additional 11 points that kept the Ripon Christian lead more than comfortable while he and fellow underclassmen kept the game out of reach.
“They (Stone Ridge Christian) were pretty spread out offensively, and that allowed Steve (Vander Molen) and Logan to get the ball when it was up for grabs,” Vander Molen said. “I told the guys that went in later in the game that they could stay in as long as they kept the lead above 20, and those proved to be the magic words for them because they did a great job finishing out the game.”