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Ripon bids farewell to Contente
GBSK--Ripon-Venture Academy pic 1
Sarah DeFreitas of Ripon braces for impact as Venture Academys Destiny Torio tries to maintain her balance. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

STOCKTON — George Contente was all choked up following his team’s early exit Tuesday from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Host Venture Academy rolled to a 67-40 win over Ripon High.
“This is really emotional,” he said upon his farewell receptions from Indian fans, who waited around to the bitter end.
It was the final game for Contente, who is bidding adieu after 21 years as coach, including the last 10 at Ripon High. He closed out the regular season with a perfect 12-0 in the Trans-Valley League.
“I guess winning your league (title) isn’t enough anymore,” Contente said of his team’s tough first-round draw.
Venture Academy (23-5) played in Division V a year ago. The second-year’s program of the San Joaquin County Office of Education had little time adjusting to D-IV play.
“I think we’re able to play with any team here,” said the Mustangs’ first-year coach Greg Azevedo.
His team featured a few players from the Manteca area.
Ripon (19-8) enjoyed its only lead early on thanks to a second-chance bucket by Savanah Clark and 3-point basket by Haylee Monroe.
But then Venture Academy bolted to a 14-0 run, scoring on fastbreak points by Sydney Buckley, who led all scorers with 22 points.
“We put a lot of work in at finishing (at the basket),” Azevedo said.
He also received balanced scoring from the likes of Anya Gamez (16), Jada Menchaca (13) and Jazlyn Maletino (11).
The Indians had tough time trying to cut down on that 20-7 first-quarter deficit.
They got it down to 10 following Karla Calderon’s trey shortly before halftime.
“We just couldn’t trim it to single digits,” Contente said.
Behind 31-16, Ripon managed to keep pace with the Mustangs through most of the second half.
But Venture Academy poured it, closing out the game on a 16-5 run.
“We knew we would eventually face (the Mustangs) — we were hoping for that to happen later rather than sooner,” Contente said.
Clark led the Indians with nine points and 11 rebounds. Monroe and Sarah DeFreitas both chipped in with eight.
Jill Jamero added seven points and three steals.