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McCombs 27 points lifts Head-Royce over Knights
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OAKLAND — Ripon Christian’s boys basketball team battled valiantly in the first round of the CIF State Northern California Division V Regional Championships, but a balanced scoring effort was not enough to overcome the hot shooting of Alex McCombs and fourth-seeded Head-Royce.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard torched the Knights for five 3s and 27 points, and the Jayhawks cruised to a 71-54 win. They’ll next host Bay Counties League — East rival and fifth-seeded Bentley of Lafayette on Saturday.

“We hit some 3s early, but their speed got to us after a while,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “And their outside shooting was damaging.”

No. 13 Ripon Christian (17-12) didn’t appear intimidated at the start. Jadon Vander Molen sank two of his team’s four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and the Knights raced to an 18-13 lead.

Head-Royce was in full control from there, outscoring them 45-24 over the next two periods.

Zach Cortright, who has signed with Greenville College in Illinois, paced Ripon Christian with 16 points. Andrew Vander Weide contributed 14, Ty Beidleman had 11 and Vander Molen finished with 13.

Kyle Brandt and Isaiah Martin added 16 and 14 points for Head-Royce (19-9).



Eastside College Prep 73

Ripon Christian 15

EAST PALO ALTO — It was tough sledding for the No. 16 Knights (14-16), who were matched with the reigning state champion in Division V for NorCals.

The top-seeded Panthers (19-8) led 28-3 after the first quarter and didn’t let up from there. Ripon Christian was held to five or less points in every period. Kelly Engel finished with six points for RC.

Eastside’s Ra’Anaa Bey fired a game-high 17 points, and Zion Gabriel had 16.

It was an eye-opening experience for Ripon Christian, which graduates just two seniors. Its postseason roster included four freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors. 

“It was a good experience for us, but the bottom line is we ran into a buzz saw,” RC coach Ed Mulder said. “They were just quicker and stronger and obviously a better team.”