RIPON — It is one thing to break a press. It is quite another to escape relentless pressure.
Argonaut of Jackson came out in a full-court trapping defense Friday night against tournament host Ripon Christian, and while the Knights were able to get the ball up the court most times the relentless pressure forced 21 turnovers in a 45-31 win for the championship of the 24th Annual Ripon Christian Girls Basketball Tournament.
“I thought our girls played really well,” Argonaut coach Rick Cabri said. “We were relentless in the press and we never quit and we kept putting pressure on the ball.”
“Our style of ball is up-tempo and we force the other team to play up-tempo.”
The Knights (8-6) took a quick 7-2 lead and the Mustangs (8-5) bounced back with an 8-0 run and never trailed again.
“We had a game plan, and in that game plan we did not do a good job of blocking out,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “They got a lot of second-chance shots.
“Defensively we were OK. We held them to 45 points but their pressure took us out of our offense and we never got into a good flow with our offense and we only scored 31 points. If we get into a good flow we are usually in the low to mid 40s. We would have been right there if we got into a flow.”
Morgan Van Elderen helped the Knights out to their early lead with seven of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter. She had five rebounds, three steals and two assists and was named to the all-tournament team.
“We need to box out every time,” Van Elderen said. “We handled the pressure pretty good with our press break.”
Also earning all-tournament honors for Ripon Christian was Renae Heida who had five points, five rebounds three assists and two steals.
“We definitely need to work on rebounding,” Heida said. “I feel like we are not being aggressive enough on the boards.
“We executed well on our press break and we kept our energy up even though we were losing.”
Despite missing most of the second quarter with foul trouble, Argonaut’s Macie Arevalo led all scorers with 18 points and was named the tournament MVP.