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Ripon denied title celebration by defending champ
GBSK--Mountain House-Ripon pic 2 WEB
Ripons Savannah Clark dribbles toward the paint while defended by Mountain Houses Tatyana Jackson. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

RIPON — With a chance to clinch the outright Trans-Valley League title on Tuesday, Ripon was reminded of who still wears the crown.
Andrea Garcia accumulated 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, and reigning champion Mountain House outlasted the Indians 72-61 while ending their 11-game winning streak.
Ripon (8-1, 18-4 overall) has three more cracks at it as the regular season nears its end but it won’t be easy. Next is Riverbank on the road Thursday, then senior night against rival Ripon Christian on Friday and Hilmar next week.
“It’s a tough week,” Ripon coach Rick Inderbitzin said. “You have to give Mountain House credit, they did a nice job and we knew going in it was going to be a rough game. We haven’t practiced well in spurts and that’s how we played tonight.
“Hopefully this rejuvenates our focus a little bit. We want to play good basketball at the end of the year. I think our kids will respond to it. They took it personal in the locker room.”
Mountain House (6-3, 11-10) was in a must-win situation as it tries separate itself from the rest of the league’s postseason contenders. The Mustangs are playing their best basketball of the season having won five straight, all on the road.
They led Ripon 57-45 at the start of the fourth quarter, and Garcia scored 10 of her points down the stretch. Tatyana Jackson added 18 points, Mariana Holtz chipped in 14 points, six rebounds and four steals, and Arielle Tala — the league MVP last season — contributed nine points and six assists.
Mountain House coach Reno Ursal said his team wasn’t extra motivated for the game considering the implications for both squads.
“We don’t even talk about wins and losses and what they mean,” he said. “We talk about what we wave to improve on and what we have to stay committed to. We had some moments in the season where we weren’t committed to improving, but since then our mind set has changed.”
It was a fast-paced contest to start, and the Mustangs carried a 38-36 lead into halftime. Savannah Clark, Ripon’s lone starting senior, did all she could to keep her team in it in crunch time. She scored seven of her 15 points in the fourth period, and her three-point play with 6:06 remaining closed them in, 55-52. Clark also had four offensive rebounds in the quarter, finishing with 12 total to go with three steals.
“Being undefeated we sort of have that target on our back,” Clark said. “We did not execute in the first half the way we wanted to. I knew that as a team we had to pick it up.
“(The loss) keeps us humble,” she added. “I think losing makes us work harder in practice. You’re not just going to show up and win every game, you have to work hard still.”
Reina Sausedo paced Ripon with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists but played with a sprained ankle. It didn’t seem to hamper her at the start, as she scored nine points in the opening quarter. Sausedo could not keep up at that pace for long, as Mountain House double teamed her every time she touched the ball.
“It wore on her a little bit, mentally and physically,” Inderbitzin said. “We had some other players do some good things, but I just felt like the whole game we were out of sync.”

Ripon 53, Mtn. House 34
Ripon cruised victory after leading 20-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Lilly Mejia spearheaded the Indians with 15 points, Mackenzie Hutchinson had 14 and Myra Toledo 12.

Ripon 34, Mtn. House 19
The Indians captured a fifth straight TVL championship on Thursday.
Malery States led them with nine points, while Leilani Post and Sydney Thomason had seven and six, respectively.