RIPON — Rod Wright can’t remember a team from his past that has shot as poorly to start a season as his current club.
The Ripon boys basketball team possesses three dynamic guards, each capable of filling up a box score …
When they’re on.
Through five games, Wright is still waiting for Cole Stevens, Aaron Paschini and transfer Mario Roach to collectively flip that switch.
Individually, they’ve had their moments.
Tuesday’s stage belonged to Paschini, a catch-and-shoot sophomore who likes to attack from range.
Paschini triggered Ripon’s decisive third-quarter run with four 3-pointers and finished with 23 points as the Indians won a game of momentum swings over Lathrop, 58-52.
Ripon (3-2) opened with an 8-0 tear. The Spartans countered with a 14-4 run of their own and led 26-21 at the break.
Yancy Ram scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half for the Spartans, who played without standout Isaiah Ellis.
“It was a game of runs,” Wright said, “and then we scored more points in one quarter than we had in the entire first half. Imagine that. It was one of those crazy-situation kind of days.”
Paschini found his rhythm in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 23 points. The Indians dialed up the speed, burning Lathrop with their transition offense. Rebounds and in-bounds passes were whipped up the floor without a moment’s hesitation.
Too often Paschini was left all alone around the arc. Ripon outscored Lathrop 25-14 in the third quarter.
“He was left open because most people cover Cole (Stevens),” Wright said. “… Today, when we swung the ball around to his side, he was open and banging 3s.”
Stevens and Roach finished with 11 points apiece, but it was another frustrating shooting night for the Indians. Stevens was 0-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line and is shooting less than 20 percent from deep.
Wright said the cold start combined with a meager post presence is the reason for the Indians’ fast-paced attack.
“We try to keep the pace high because we need more layups. We’re struggling, so we have to get easy points,” he added. “When you don’t shoot, when you have three outside shooters and they’re not shooting (well) all at once, you have to get easy fast-break points.”
Avraj Bal did his best to keep Lathrop in the game late. Bal scored all 14 of his points in the second half.
Manteca 66, Bret Harte 27
Manteca head coach Brett Lewis shook up his starting lineup, hoping Keshawn Shackelford and Tyler Graves-Kelso could bring a different energy to the floor.
Their impact was felt immediately on the defensive end, where the Buffaloes limited Bret Harte to just one first-half field goal.
Graves-Kelso had seven points and five rebounds, while Shackelford collected six rebounds of his own in a runaway victory. Manteca has won four of its first five games, and this one was never close.
The Buffaloes led 30-7 at the half.
For the second straight game all 11 players found the scoring column. Forward Anand Hundal paced Manteca with 12 points, six blocked shots and four rebounds in two quarters of action.
Marcus Montano knocked down one 3-pointer en route to nine points. Ramon Gallardo had eight points and Ja’Juan Freeman seven.
Lewis credited Shackelford, Graves-Kelso and the rest of the bench for sparking Tuesday’s victory.
“We’ve been playing really flat, without much energy,” Lewis said. “To me, it didn’t seem like we were having fun. We’ve been challenging the guys since this last tournament. We got our second-team guys pushing the starters and practice has been good, and I think it carried right over to the game.”
Manteca hosts Gregori tonight.
East Union 41
East Union was off the mark early and never recovered in suffering its fourth loss in five games.
“We got a lot of work to do defensively,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “On top of that, we missed a ton of layups and shots that on other nights they might fall. It was a rough shooting night.”
The loss is the Lancers’ third of at least 11 or more points this season. Next up is Gregori on Friday. The Jaguars are 3-1 with victories over Merced and Atwater and a date with Manteca tonight.
Manteca 68, Bret Harte 35
The trio of Gino Campiotti, Kyle Bolding and Richon Nash outscored Bret Harte as Manteca blitzed its guests.
Campiotti scored 17 points, Bolding poured in 12 points and Nash added seven for the Buffaloes, who ratcheted up the defensive pressure early and led 38-20 at the half.