WOODLAND — Those tightly-contested battles in Trans-Valley League play served third-seeded Ripon Christian’s girls basketball team well in its Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinal at No. 2 Woodland Christian on Thursday.
The Knights made all 10 of their free throws in the fourth quarter, and Morgan Van Elderen drained a key 3-pointer down the stretch as they held on for a 55-52 victory that sends to them to the championship round and the CIF State Northern California Regional Championships.
“The TVL is just a tough league for us, and when we’re fortunate enough to get enough wins to make the playoffs it really helps,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said.
Ripon Christian (16-12) started hot, leading 14-5 before the Cardinals got untracked. In the end, Kelly Engel sank a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining to put the Knights up by three. Woodland Christian (24-5) was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer.
Engel and Van Elderen shared game-high honors with 18 points apiece. Ariel Vander Woude pulled down 10 rebounds, and Renae Heida eight points and seven rebounds in her first game in two weeks. Heida is recovering from a broken bone in her foot, and Mulder said she was a game-time decision.
“We weren’t going to play her but we had to,” he said. “Woodland Christian is very scrappy. We played well, we just couldn’t maintain any momentum. It was a really good game.”
Lydia Stephens led Woodland Christian with 10 points.
Ripon Christian faces off with No 1-seeded Forest Lake Christian (20-5) of Auburn in the title round next Friday, March 2 at the University of the Pacific. Tipoff is scheduled for noon. It will be the Knights’ first section final since 2015. They seek their 12th SJS banner and first since claiming three in succession from 2000-02.
D3 girls hoops
Christian Bros. 73,
E. Union 40
SACRAMENTO — The eighth-seeded Lancers (16-12) were simply no match for top-seeded Christian Brothers (21-7), which used a 21-7 second-quarter surge to take a commanding 35-15 lead into halftime.
“They were definitely the No. 1 seed,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “They have some really good basketball players who play the game at a much higher level that what we’ve faced this year. They have speed and length, and they play the game the right way.”
Briana Juniel racked up 22 points for Christian Brothers. Donja Payne scored 15 to lead the Lancers.
D3 boys soccer
East Union 2
ANTELOPE — Sacramento State-bound star forward Ben Kikanovic converted a penalty kick three minutes into stoppage time to give No. 3 Antelope (15-5-1) a dramatic quarterfinal win over the sixth-seeded Lancers (19-5-4).
“It was a heartbreaker and tough to lose in that fashion,” EU coach Ronnie Green said. “But that’s a very good team, and we gave them everything they could handle tonight. They’re seeded No. 3 for a reason and we had our chances.”
Kikanovic finished with two goals, scoring the first in the opening minutes. East Union answered with the tying and go-ahead goals in the 50th and 55th minutes. Working off a feed from Angel Guizar, Jesus Hurtado chipped a shot over the keeper for Lancers’ first score. Roles were reversed minutes later, as Hurtado delivered the through ball to Guizar for the finish.
Antelope knotted it back up in the 60th minute on a head ball following a free kick.