RIPON – Ripon didn’t have an answer for Escalon’s 6-2 senior guard Owen Pangilinan during Friday the Trans Valley League opener Friday night.
The Cougars’ team captain finished with a game-high 27 points on five 3s, including five in the final 2 minutes, 27 seconds that closed off the Indians, 66-57.
“We battled hard, but (Pangilinan) had a good game,” Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “(Escalon) just beat us. We’re going to have to work hard; nothing is going to come easy. It’s not the results we’re used to, but you’re supposed to protect your home court. We just came up short today.”
Ripon (0-1 TVL, 1-13 overall) played a solid first quarter and outscored Escalon (1-0, 5-5) 20-17 in the first eight minutes. The Indians’ freshman guard Cole Stevens scored nine of his team-high 16 points during the first quarter with three treys.
Ripon junior Massimo Robbins scored the Indians’ first four points of the second quarter to stretch his team’s largest lead of the game to 24-17 before Escalon scored the next eight unanswered to go back ahead. Robbins finished with eight and had a dunk in the first half thanks to a Curtis Azevedo assist.
Senior guard Chase DePrue (11 points) gave Ripon its final lead with a free throw that made it 30-28 midway through the second quarter. Escalon answered with two straight 3-balls from Pangilinan that made it 34-30 Escalon, which went into the locker rooms with a two-point advantage.
“(Pangilinan) is a good shooter,” Escalon head coach Martin Louro said. “But he’s really good at penetrating and getting to the rim. He might have had (five) 3s, but that doesn’t add up to 27. He was attacking the rim and we practiced attacking the zone all week.”
Escalon was attacking and kicking out against Ripon’s 2-3 zone and knocked down 10 triples doing so.
Ripon had its chances and pulled within two points in the third quarter and as close as one twice in the final frame. Senior center Derek Hickman made it 54-53 off a put back and Azevedo hit a clutch jumper that made it 56-55. Stevens had five in the fourth quarter, including two free throws that made it 59-57 and were Ripon’s final points of the contest before Escalon closed the last 2:27 on a 7-0 run.
“Where we go from here will be interesting,” Wright concluded. “In the fourth quarter we kept it close, but then all of a sudden we started trying to go one-on-one and do it ourselves. And then (Pangilinan) came down and hit that two and that runner and no one jumped in front of him. It becomes frustrating.”
Ripon, which will play again in a non-league contest Tuesday at home against Downey at 7:30 p.m., also received eight points from the seniors Hickman and Matt Uecker.
Ripon Christian 67, Waterford 31
The Knights opened up Southern League play improving to 9-3 overall after receiving a team-high 18 points from Sean Broker.
Sophomore Travis Vander Molen finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while senior Eric Broker chipped in with 14. Point guard Danny Vander Molen tallied nine and Austin Alger had five. Tristan Vos, Kevin Kramer and Jake Schollenberg scored two apiece to round out the total.
Ripon Christian, which will play its SL-home opener Tuesday against Mariposa at 7:15 p.m., led 22-10 after the first quarter and went into the locker room ahead 41-17.
Ripon 45, Escalon 21
Freshman Aaron Paschini (13 points) led the Indians to their first TVL victory of the season after Ripon jumped out 23-14 heading into halftime and closed the second half on a 22-7 run.
Ripon Christian 67, Waterford 31
The SL’s reigning MVP Teagan Manus got off to a hot start in the Knights’ league opener as she tallied 21 points, four steals and five rebounds. Ripon Christian (1-0, 6-4) led 21-3 after the first period and led 26-16 at the half. Junior Ellen Blankers scored 10 points, tallied seven blocks and grabbed four steals for the Knights, who will visit Mariposa on Monday. Junior Mariah Alger chimed in with eight.
Ripon 37, Escalon 31
The Indians (1-0, 5-7) opened up TVL play and senior Morgan Carrico recorded a team-high 11 points despite fouling out. Seniors Melanie Wilkerson and Julia Victor each scored six, while junior wing Zaire Davis and Mel Ulrich chipped in four. Jill Jamero (3), Ellie Waters (2) and Kaylyn Evans (1) rounded out the total for Ripon, which will host Hughson Thursday night. Escalon’s Claudia Gomez and Janelle Anderson combined for 23.
Ripon Christian 36, Waterford 12
Bailey Broker led the Knights with seven and 14 rebounds in their league-opening victory. Jessica Orozco tallied nine steals and six points for Ripon Christian, who led by 11 at the half and went on a 13-3 third-quarter run to take a 21-point cushion into the fourth. Jessica Van Vliet had four to go with six steals.
To contact John-Joel Griffiths, e-mail email@example.com.