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RC drops championship game at home
Tyler Goslinga prepares to take a shot at the basket in the championship round of the Ripon Christian tournament Saturday night. The Knights fell 56-47 to Linden High School. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
RIPON – Despite scoring more points in the game’s fourth quarter than they did in the entire first half, the Ripon Christian Knights simply couldn’t overcome an early deficit to the visiting Linden Lions.

After giving Linden a nine-point lead in the first quarter, Ripon Christian battled with the Lions for the remainder of the championship round of the Knight’s Christmas Tournament – eventually falling 56-47 after they allowed Linden build a 13 point lead before closing the gap slightly in the game’s final minutes.

The loss was only the second of the year for the Knights, who advanced last season to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.

“We came out a little bit tentative tonight, both physically and mentally,” Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We didn’t adjust to the style of the game that was being called quickly enough. Once we did adjust we did better, but we didn’t catch it early.”

With an early 9-0 run setting the tone, the Lions prevented Ripon Christian from clawing back into the game by using center Aaron Judge to guard the powerful presence of six-foot, eight-inch Tyler Goslina – holding him to only 13 points why the equally tall Judge dropped 17 from under the hoop.

Linden also turned to outside shooting and found accurate range in Greg Cooke – who racked up 12 points for the Lions and helped create a balance between Judge’s big inside presence and the shot-taking from outside of the paint.

But not even that was enough to keep the Knights from mounting a late-game surge that nearly paid off.

With roughly four minutes remaining in the contest, Ripon Christian narrowed the gap to only five points before their aggressive comeback resulted in a double bonus situation for Linden. The game’s final two minutes resulted in more than half-a-dozen trips to the free-throw line between the two squads – eventually allowing the Lions to hold on for the victory.

Both Steve Vander Molen and Logan Vos contributed 12 points for the Knights, and Dan Van De Pol rounded out the scoring leaders with 8 points.

“Right now it’s early in the season, and all we can do is learn from this as we go forward towards league,” Vander Molen said. “They did a good job tonight shutting down Tyler, and their defensive was better than ours – that proved to be the factor right there.”