RIPON – Ripon Christian senior Teagan Manus returned to her squad’s lineup right on time for the opener of the Lady Knights Basketball Tournament Thursday night.
The Ripon Christian floor general and reigning Southern League MVP tallied seven points and four assists and helped ball club knock off Elliot Christian 55-14 and move on to the semifinal of its own tournament.
“Teagan makes a major difference,” Ripon Christian’s head basketball coach Ed Mulder said. “She’s the one with the ball and she distributed it really well. She picks the whole tempo up, and she’s just a good player.”
Manus helped set the tone and tallied three of her total assists in the first quarter. Ripon Christian (3-3) was lights out defensively and limited a youth-laden Elliot Christian squad scoreless during the first 13-minutes, 35-seconds of the ball game.
“We’ve been working on our defense the last couple weeks, and I saw a major improvement,” Mulder added. “Overall, we were pleased with the way we played for as poor as the competition was.
“Hilmar is very athletic. They’re good shooters, so we’ll have our hands full (tonight).”
Ripon Christian faces Hilmar (6-4) tonight at 7:30 p.m. for a trip to Saturday’s championship game against the winner of today’s other semifinal between Hughson and Central Catholic at 6 p.m.
“We did pretty well,” said Manus, who made the score 16-0 by registering the first points of the second quarter. “The team that we played wasn’t super good -- we’re aiming to get to the championship. Hilmar is going to be tough -- we watched them play earlier.”
Hilmar will certainly be tougher than the Eagles (3-6) of Lodi, who featured four freshmen of their seven who suited up.
Elliot Christian didn’t score until freshman guard Lauren Vickers (five points) hit a jumper from the right elbow with 2:25 left in the first half. Five different players scored for Ripon Christian in the first quarter, including four from junior Mariah Alger (six points). In fact, 10 of RC’s 12 players reached the scoring column.
Manus had five of her total in the second quarter, when the Knights outscored their opponent 14-4 and led 28-4 going into the locker rooms.
Ripon Christian held Elliot Christian scoreless in the fourth quarter and closed the game 15-0. RC junior Ellen Blankers scored four of her eight in the final frame, and Adrianna Van Groningen recorded five of her team-high nine in the concluding quarter as well.
Ripon Christian juniors Elisabeth Regusci and Carly Tillema each chipped in with six, while Hilvers and sophomore Nichole Graham pitched in four apiece. Pam Radach (two) and Alexandra Eastham (one) rounded out the total.
Elliot Christian went 0 of 15 in the first and final quarter combined. The Eagles shot a 5 of 22 for the entire 32 minutes.