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Scoring balance helps Ripon overcome Ballards 31 points, Lathrop pressure
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RIPON — Anthony Sisk turned to rapper Meek Mill to get him in the right mindset for Ripon’s home opener against Lathrop on Tuesday.
He and the Indians made sweet music themselves, rolling to an 88-77 victory that they hope gets them going in the right direction after dropping two of three games in Stagg’s Joe Nava Delta King Classic last week.
The 6-foot-3 Sisk scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter, also finishing with 13 rebounds.
“I don’t know, maybe it was the music I was playing — very motivational. It got me in the zone,” Sisk said. “This was a fun game.”
Lathrop, playing its first game of the season, looked to force the action by committing to a full-court, pressure defense throughout. That only played into the hands of guard-heavy Ripon (2-2), which had balanced production as a result.
Point guard Cole Stevens caught fire late after a rough start from the field, contributing 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Kyle Sisk, Anthony’s brother, added 15 points, six boards and three blocks off the bench. Starting senior guards Noah Hernandez and Aaron Paschini (six assists, four steals) chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. 
Lathrop standout Junior Ballard led all scorers with 31 points to go with six steals, but it wasn’t enough for the Spartans to overcome the unselfish play of Ripon.
“Ballard did what we expected,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “They want to get you into a helter-skelter (pace) but we have three very experienced guards that know what to do against that.
“It was nice to finally break through and have it happen in a home game. They played well and did it as a team, which is what we’ve been preaching to them all week.”
Anthony Blase registered 13 points and 11 rebounds for Lathrop. Adonis Payton contributed 10 and eight. The Spartans started behind the 8-ball with two starters sitting the entire first quarter for arriving late to a recent practice. They were able to make do without them, staking a 20-18 lead going into the second.
“It’s going to take a while to change the culture on this team,” first-year Lathrop head coach Craig Ward said. “I have to make the statement to these kids that you’re not bigger than the team.”
Ripon went on a 12-0 run to jump ahead 35-27 at one point in the second quarter. The Indians led 38-36 at halftime after Paschini nailed an elbow jumper as time expired.
The pace remained up-tempo from there with Ripon benefitting from it. Kyle Sisk and Hernandez buried back-to-back 3s to give the Indians their largest advantage at 81-67 with 3:30 left. Ripon made 10 3s total.
“We’re going to hang our hat on defense,” Ward said. “We’re going to continue to press and try to cause doubt and confusion, and that’s the problem — we did not cause doubt and confusion today. I could have come out of it earlier but I want them to get used to playing at this pace. A lot of times we’re getting beat on the break because they’re not all buying into the concept. It’s a little frustrating, but we’ll get there.”

Ripon Christian 62,
 Bret Harte 47
RIPON — The Knights improved to 4-0 behind another balanced scoring effort.
Zack Cortright led the way with 17 points, while Fletcher Jackson, Jadon Vander Molen and Andrew Vander Weide each tallied 11.
Leading 34-27 at halftime, Ripon Christian broke it open with a 15-5 third quarter.

Ripon 45, Lathrop 43
RIPON — Troy Brogan poured in 18 points and seven rebounds as the Indians held on for the win. Nico Ilardi (six rebounds) and Dorian Dougherty added seven points apiece.
Walton Whaley fired 21 points to pace Lathrop.