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Indians suffocating defense too much for Ripon Christian
Ripon High’s Rachel Rodriguez gets the clean block on Ripon Christian’s Mikaela Alger Saturday in the two teams’ non-league matchup.
RIPON – In a contest that featured twice as many free throws attempts as there were minutes in the game, Ripon High used a dominant first half to cruise to a relatively easy win against the visiting Ripon Christian Knights in a non-league matchup Saturday.

The Indians (17-4) looked the more dominant squad from the onset, opening the game on a blistering quick 8-2 run featuring the defensive exploits of senior Kendra Contente. Contente (16 points) pilfered three steals in the game’s opening moments and Ripon would never trail following.

“In that first half, what we had going on and what we were doing, it was good,” Ripon head coach George Contente said. “We had some great looks, we moved the ball, we played good defense and created a lot of turnovers. We kept the pressure on, and did the things that we work on everyday and it was working out really well.”

The Indians stifled the majority of Ripon Christian’s early possessions, holding the Knights to a pair of Mikaela Alger layup’s and one from twin sister Morgan in the first quarter. The Knights (14-5) scored nine in the second, but still walked into the locker room at halftime with a 38-15 deficit.

The second half saw the two offenses stagnant and uncharacteristically sloppy. The Indians ditched the pressure defense allowing Ripon Christian to advance the ball. The Knights half-court set was rewarded handsomely with 34 second-half foul shots.

The two clubs combined to shoot over 70 free throws, with Ripon Christian shooting 26 in a fourth quarter they opened trailing 54-24.

“It’s tough for all of the kids, on both sides of the court,” Contente said. “We really couldn’t get anything going. We had three or four girls foul out; sometimes you just want to let the kids play.

“There’s things we expect our girls to do when they come in, and we weren’t able to get into the flow of those things.”

Ripon Christian made good on its boatload of free throws, outscoring the Indians 20-13 in the final period. Mikaela Alger led the Knights with 16 points doing all she could to keep Ripon Christian from allowing the game to get out of hand.

“The press was beating us pretty good in the first half, and the game basically came down to trying to beat that press,” Mikaela Alger said. “Coach (Ed Mulder) just told us to keep playing and fight through it and try and run our offense the best we could.

“It could have been a lot worse, but we picked it up towards the end and started trying to play together.”

Ripon Christian had a tough time controlling Rachel Rodriguez, who turned in a game-high 23 points to lead three Indians finishing in double figures.

“Coach didn’t really say anything specific to me beforehand, I did get warned about the twins though,” Rodriguez said of the Alger sisters. “I just came out ready to play. A solid game like this just encourages me to do better next game, and try and get 20 points again.”

Ripon will be back on its Trans Valley League schedule Thursday when they travel to Escalon to take on the Cougars, while the Knights will be reacquainted with their Southern League mates beginning with a trip to Le Grand High Thursday.