RIPON — Nicole Graham’s 3-pointer drew Ripon Christian within two points of Riverbank with 1:10 left in the in the fourth quarter Thursday. She followed that up with a steal, but the Knights would not score again as the Bruins went home with a 34-31 win in Trans-Valley League girls basketball action.
“She (Graham) has quick hands,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “She is a good shooter too.
“She likes to play close up and she has quick hands and that makes a big, big difference. She played well there at the end.”
It took both teams a while to get going. Riverbank (7-0 TVL, 13-9 overall) led 7-4 at the end of the first quarter and the Knights (4-3, 13-5) bounced back to take a 13-9 halftime lead.
“We had some open shots but we just weren’t shooting well,” Mulder said. “It’s not that we are bad shooters but you can’t win games scoring 31 points. Against Hilmar on Tuesday we were only 13-12 at half. We are playing good defense but our biggest downfall is we are not shooting.
“As a group these girls play very well together but you still have to be able to shoot the ball. We are just struggling with that right now.”
Although Ripon Christian never led, the Knights kept things close the entire game.
“All the games have been exciting in league,” Bruins coach Lupe Galindo said. “We were just cold to start the game. We had a lot of open shots and good looks but they just were not falling. I think we were just a little pumped up.
“But we did play good defense.”
Riverbank went on a 14-3 run to start the third quarter, keyed by Olivia Luu’s seven consecutive points. Luu led all scorers with 15 points.
“She (Luu) is probably the best player in this league,” Mulder said. “We made her work, but she still had the fortitude to hit those shots.
“Ellen Blankers and Cynthia Van Vliet did an excellent job of defending Luu in the half-court, but she would get loose in transition and make some points.”
Graham led Ripon Christian with 11 points and Bailey Broker added nine. Broker and Carly Tillema each had 11 rebounds.
Ripon 50, Hilmar 35
At Hilmar, the Indians (4-3, 12-11) staked a 28-8 halftime lead and rolled to a much-needed win to stay in the hunt for a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.
Zaire Davis pumped in 15 points to lead Ripon. Jill Jamero added nine points and Karissa Carlson had eight.
Ripon Christian 41,
Molly Hoeksema had 14 points for the Knights (8-1 TVL, 18-4 overall) Abby Buitrago added 10, and Lyndsey Van Groningen grabbed 10 rebounds to go with eight points.