RIPON — Kristen Maestretti was rewarded for her effort.
In one possession early in the third quarter at Ripon, the scrappy Sierra forward pulled down three offensive rebounds but couldn’t get the put-back layups to fall through. After the ball was knocked out by a Ripon player, Alison Edwards assisted Maestretti with the inbounds pass.
“Kristen is our workhorse,” Sierra coach Martha Spivey said. “She’ll do anything that we need her to do and she wants to win.”
It was plays like these that helped the Timberwolves end their five-game winning streak Tuesday. Maestretti tallied 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks and four steals in the 47-43 victory for Sierra, which never trailed over the final three quarters but repelled a late charge from the Indians.
“It was nice,” Maestretti said. “It was frustrating because it was a physical game but it came together for us. Everybody worked hard.”
Kayla Wilson contributed 12 points and six rebounds. Keanna Barber added nine points.
Sierra (2-6) led by as much as nine, 33-24, after Haley Silva put-back with 2:23 left in the third. She later drained a key 3-pointer in the fourth.
Ripon (5-5), to its credit, stayed within striking distance in the second half while its double-double producer, Zaire Davis, was handcuffed with foul trouble. She picked up her third foul in the final minute of the second period and sat out every second of the third.
Davis is Ripon’s version of Maestretti, an undersized post player who can fill up the stat sheet. She settled for seven points and nine boards in limited action.
Point guard Jill Jamero helped fill the void, finishing with 11 points and four assists. Melanie Ulrich scored six of her eight points in the third quarter. Jourdy Richter knocked down a pair of 3s in the second half.
“It was huge (having Davis sidelined) but we had other people step up, which is good because we need that from them down the road,” Ripon coach George Contente said.
Ripon had several chances to tie the score in the final 4 minutes. With 3:55 remaining, Jamero closed the Indians in, 41-40, with an and-one bucket in transition but missed the free throw. Richter nearly knotted it with another 3-pointer with 25 seconds to go but the ball rattled in and out.
Ripon missed its final six free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished 6-for-16 from the stripe. Sierra made 14 of its 27 attempts.
“In a close game like that you gotta make free throws,” Contente said. “We couldn’t buy a free throw.”
Both teams are competing in the West Coast Jamboree starting this Saturday. Spivey said the goal is to continue improving as her team prepares to tip off the Valley Oak League season at Oakdale on Jan. 7.
“Except for Lincoln, we’ve been in every game that we lost so it’s good to be on the other side of it,” Spivey said, “We don’t have a lot of wins right now in the preseason but we’re shooting to be ready for league. We’re not worried about our record. A win is nice, but we’re (0-0) when league starts and that’s how we are looking at it.”