Ripon Christian was treated to the scenic views of the Monterey Peninsula on Tuesday.
Today, the Knights (21-8) are headed for the City by the Bay where they’ll encounter third-seeded Stuart Hall (18-12) at historic Kezar Pavilion in the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation Division V NorCal Regionals. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
“(Tuesday) night, we took the kids to the beach,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “Two nights later we’re going to the heart of San Francisco. It’s a fun experience to travel with the team. I’ve heard all kinds of different stories (about Kezar) from people. I’ve never been there, but I look forward to really getting to check it out.”
The Knights’ Tour de NorCal could take them to Oakland or Sacramento. The victor faces either No. 2 Head-Royce of Oakland and No. 10 Bradshaw Christian, which upset Ripon Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V semifinals.
Ripon Christian opened its NorCal run with a 64-53 win over No. 6 Stevenson in Pebble Beach, battling back from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter. Stuart Hall thrashed No. 14 Mt. Shasta, 69-45.
Stuart Hall, also the Knights, advanced to the North Coast Section Division IV semifinals as a No. 10 seed, losing to eventual champion and Bay Counties League West Division rival University, 74-42.
“They’re a powerhouse,” Hofman said of Stuart Hall, a two-time NCS champion with one NorCal Division V title (2018). “When I saw their name (on the bracket) I knew right away. They’ve been to the state finals and have a tradition of good basketball.”
Ripon Christian owns 11 SJS titles and four NorCal crowns.
Brandon Lum stands out on a Stuart Hall team that thrives with balanced scoring. These Knights of San Francisco run an option offense, and their stable of sharpshooting guards can get hot from long range.
“They play fast and pressure the ball,” Hofman said. “The interesting thing is that the teams we have been playing all have similar styles, it’s just a matter of picking out the top players.”
On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Cloverdale is pitted with No. 8 Yreka, while SJS Division V champ Denair travels to No. 4 Priory of Portola Valley. The regional semifinals are on Saturday.