RIPON – After having its 43-game Southern League winning streak snapped on Tuesday night, Ripon Christian’s entire starting five played inspired basketball on Friday.
The Knights’ starters combined for all but two of their squad’s total points during a 65-43 rout against Turlock Christian (1-1 SL, 9-6 overall).
“We came out super motivated,” said Ripon Christian senior Eric Broker, who tallied six points, seven boards and two steals. “We came in with a good strategy to run, push the ball and have fun. I think we executed well.”
Broker’s younger brother, junior Sean Broker, finished with 15 points, four rebounds a block and three steals. Sophomore standout Travis Vander Molen finished with a game-high 20 points, which included 10 in the first quarter whenTurlock Christian was outscored 24-9 and couldn’t recover.
Travis’ older cousin, junior Danny Vander Molen, had a solid game at the point-guard slot. He recorded six points to go with six assists and three rebounds. Danny also bounced back from a shaky performance against Mariposa just four nights prior.
“Danny really struggled Tuesday and I was really happy to see him play well,” Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen said of his boy. “He really led us and got us into our (offense), and he played good defense himself. It’s hard enough as a coach to lose -- but to have your son play poorly -- it’s rewarding to have the team do well and have him come back and play well too.”
The Knights (2-1 SL, 10-4) carried a 36-22 cushion into the locker room and came out with even more purpose in the third quarter.
Ripon Christian went on a 24-11 run after the half to stretch its lead to 27 heading into the fourth. Travis Vander Molen, Sean Broker and Austin Alger – the Knight’s fifth starter who netted 13 points, grabbed four boards and two steals – combined for 22 points in the third frame.
Vander Molen and Alger combined for four of the Knights’ five total 3s, and Vander Molen had his other 10 in the third. Both of his 3s were assisted by his unselfish, heads-up cousin at point.
Turlock Christian’s standout big man Brady Turner (6-7, 275 pounds) was held to eight points, which he scored all in the first two quarters.
“We got the flu bug going around the team,” Turlock Christian head coach Eddie Sai said. “I got two starters at home and my big guy (Turner) was throwing up in the locker room at halftime. We played hard. (Ripon Christian) is a good team, but we’ll see them back at our place (on Feb. 4) at full speed.”
Josh Wright had nine for the Eagles and Drake Dutra had team-high 11.
Ripon Christian went 9 of 20 from the free-throw line, and TC was 7 of 10. The Knights visit Denair on Thursday followed by Le Grand next Friday at home.
Ripon 65, Hughson 41
The Indians evened their Trans Valley League record to 1-1 and point guard Chase DePrue netted a team-high 15 points. Senior Derek Hickman (12) and freshman Cole Stevens (10) combined for 22 as Ripon went on a 21-10 run in the third quarter and went up by as many as 34 in the second half. Ripon will face Riverbank Tuesday and Modesto Christian at home next Friday.