The Ripon Christian High Knights maintained the top spot in the Trans-Valley League Thursday by taking care of local rival Ripon High, 59-43.
Eli Terpsma paced the winners with 25 points. Luke Crivello chipped in with 13, including three from behind the 3-point arc.
“Eli is a gifted scorer,” said RC coach Mark Hofman. “Luke adds a layer to our offense.”
The Knights (5-0 TVL, 13-7 overall) struggled early on offensively, battling to push past halfcourt against the pressure defense by the scrappy Indians (3-2, 6-14).
“That’s who we are as a team,” Ripon coach Justin Graham said.
The Indians took the early lead on free throws and a put-back by Landon Gillespie coupled with a reverse layup by 6-4 sophomore Marcus Madoski.
RC answered late in the opening period with a 9-3 run. Terpsma and Crivello delivered on a pair of mid-range jumpers, and Jace Beidleman and Derek Van Elderen added a bucket each in the rally.
The Knights extended their lead to 18-9 in the second. Gillespie had an and-one basket for Ripon to end the drought.
Both teams traded baskets in an up-and-down stretch midway through the second. RC came through ahead, 33-24.
In the third, Ty Herrin delivered a pair of 3s for the Indians, trimming the lead to six, 35-29.
But then Terpsma came up with a half-court steal accented by a dunk on the other end. He had another such steal later in the half.
RC put the game out of reach in the fourth, going on a 14-4 run capped by 3s from Crivello and Justin Hofman.
“We’re really good defensively in the half court,” said coach Hofman, pointing out to his team’s often superior size advantage as being a contributing factor.
The 6-foot-7 junior Beidleman finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and three steals.
Gillespie was Ripon’s top scorer with 13 points. Herrin added seven and Logan Lefebvre and Reed Holland both had six.
Madoski finished with eight rebounds and two blocks to go with his four points.
“He’s improving,” Graham said of his young big man. “We have high expectations of him.”
Ripon will look to back on the winning track tonight at Livingston.