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RC, Ripon both win tournament openers
Sean Broker lays it in for two of his 18 points for Ripon Christian, which defeated Hughson 65-54 in the first round of the Knights tournament on Friday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

RIPON — Two wins, two different reactions.

Ron Vander Molen wasn’t entirely pleased with Ripon Christian’s 65-54 win over Hughson in the opening round of the Knights’ own tournament Friday night.

Next door, Rod Wright was rightfully ecstatic with Ripon High’s effort to start the Ripon Winter Classic. That’s because the Indians’ 69-22 throttling of Galt marked their first victory of the season.

“We needed a win and this is the one,” Wright said. “As they say, we’re now 1-0 this season — after starting out 0-6.”

It had been a discouraging start to Ripon’s campaign, though five of its six losses were to winning programs from higher-division schools. Galt (1-7) was a team the Indians could beat, and they did so emphatically.

Ten Ripon players scored, as it shot out to a 26-5 first-quarter lead and were up comfortably 42-8 at halftime.

Derek Hickman, a 6-foot-5 center, had his way with the smaller Warriors, scoring 22 points. Freshman Cole Stevens produced 12 points while taking advantage of the attention Hickman was getting from Galt defenders. Curtis Azevedo added nine points, and Chase DePrue had eight.

“Derek Hickman totally dominated the post and had a lot of offensive rebounds,” Wright said. “We just pounded it in the post because it was a mismatch. It allowed him to use the moves that he had been working on and hopefully he gains some confidence from it.”

Ripon plays Stagg, which upset Gregori on Friday, in tonight’s championship game that tips off at 6:30.

Ripon Christian also plays at 6:30 and greets Liberty Ranch (7-4) of Galt in its tournament final. Liberty Ranch routed Big Valley Christian, 89-48.

“They’ll be tough,” Vander Molen said of Liberty Ranch, adding that his Knights, now 6-1, will need to take better care of the ball and tighten up defensively.

Ripon Christian never trailed against Hughson, blowing open a 10-0 lead at the outset.

Travis Vander Molen hit 3 of 4 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Knights take a 38-22 lead into the intermission. The Huskies (2-5), however, managed to stay within striking distance in the second half.

“It wasn’t our best performance this year,” coach Vander Molen said. “Defensively, we started out strong and that was feeding our offense a little bit. We stopped running and didn’t show the energy that we have been showing in previous games in the second half.

Austin Alger paced Ripon Christian with 23 points, accounting for three of the squads made 3-pointers. Sean Broker finished with 18, and Travis Vander Molen ended up with 16.

Cosumnes Oaks Tourney

Manteca 56, Elk Grove 50

The Buffaloes (7-3) are in the championship round of the Running with the Pack Tournament tonight against host Cosumnes Oaks (8-1) of Elk Grove.

Michael Hatfield led a balanced attack for Manteca with 16 points. T.J. Muhar fired 12 points, while Austin Haro and Miguel Lopez each had 10.

Manteca held 10-point leads in both halves, but missed free throws kept it from pulling away. Elk Grove (4-6) threatened late by hitting four 3-pointers.