The Ripon High girls basketball team will enter the 2011-12 season looking to fill some big shoes.
The Indians, a year ago, were among the top teams in the Trans Valley League (10-2, 21-6 overall).
Gone are Kendra Contente, Rachel Rodriguez, and Megan Marias.
Not to worry.
“I know our girls want to carry on the winning tradition and they’ve been working very hard,” Ripon coach George Contente said earlier this week.
He listed junior guard Ruth Waters as his top returning player. “She was an all-league selection as sophomore,” Contente noted.
Junior forward Tia Sidtikun also returns, giving the Indians a tough matchup in the post.
Kelsey Alexander, who is a sophomore, is among the top newcomers and could develop into a good post player, Contente said.
Juniors Haylee Fannin and Jessica Coit come in as a pair of promising guards.
“Our ability to play hard-nosed defense will be our strength,” Contente said.
As for weakness, he listed youth and inexperience.
But that could quickly change.
“We’re intelligent and very quick learners with athletic ability,” he added.
At Ripon Christian, the Knights are hoping to again contend in the Southern League.
They finished 20-7 overall, 12-2 in league and bring back several key returners.
Included are a pair of 6-foot-0 forwards in Mikaela and Morgan Alger, both seniors; 5-7 sophomore guard Teagan Manus; 5-10 senior guard Mikayla Manus; 5-4 junior Rachel Van Groningen; 5-7 junior guard Kaylie Colyn; 5-11 junior forward Cassidy De Rousse; and 5-9 senior forward Katie Thomas.
The Alger twins along with Teagan Manus and Kaylie Colyn recently joined the hoop practices having completed the volleyball season. Teagan Manus and De Rousse led RC to the sophomore title in the SL before getting promoted to varsity late in the season.