RIPON — Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder believes his team took forward steps in its two setbacks in the 22nd Annual Lady Knights Invitational.
The tournament host dropped the third-place game to Argonaut 46-42 Wednesday night but gained valuable experience for what is expected to be another competitive Trans-Valley League season.
All-tournament selection Lauryn Davis drained a 3-pointer with about 17 seconds remaining to help secure the victory for Argonaut (9-5). She finished with a game-high 22 points.
On Monday, Ripon Christian (5-6) hung with Division I Bear Creek in a 40-36 loss, and it was on the back end of a doubleheader for the Knights.
Central Catholic (9-3) defeated Bear Creek (9-3) 48-34 for the tourney championship, while Hilmar (7-7) beat Big Valley Christian (3-11) 41-38 in the fifth-place game.
“I really feel that we progressed a lot from this week,” Mulder said. “We played two tough teams in Bear Creek and Argonaut, and Argonaut is a Division V school we might see in the playoffs, if we make it.
“I knew that going into the season we’re inexperienced and young, so anytime you can play with good teams in close games it’s a positive. You’ll have your ups and downs, but this week we had more ups than downs so I’m satisfied.”
Ripon Christian had two all-tournament players in Jessica Van Vliet (eight points, eight rebounds) and Jessica Orozco (eight rebounds, five steals, four assists). Nicole Graham led the team in scoring with nine points.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout. Ripon Christian had the momentum going down the stretch after outscoring the Mustangs 13-4 in the third for a 33-28 lead.
“We played well, but they’re a very good team,” Mulder said. “We had stretches where we did not close out on their shooters and they were able to make their shots.”