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Ripon falls in rematch
Hughson survives comeback in crucial TVL matchup
Paulina Ceja works to stay inbounds while making a baseline pass to an inside player. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
RIPON – When the Ripon Indians fell to the Hughson Huskies in their first matchup on Jan. 20, they did so without starting senior and floor general Jessica Blythe who was out with a back injury.

But not even having Blythe on the court could help propel the Indians past the stingy Hughson defense – falling 35-31 in a game that had major playoff implications for both teams.

“We just didn’t play very well out there tonight,” Ripon head coach George Contente said. “They came out early and pressed us and put on pressure, and we’d beat it and then turn the ball over.

“We had the looks and the shots but we just couldn’t get the ball to drop for us.”

After Hughson pulled ahead early with a 14-3 lead at the start of the second quarter, Ripon roared back with its own impressive run to narrow the gap to a 20-14 halftime score – a streak that included a key three-point shot from Blythe as well as strong inside performances from Lauren Fedderson and Adrianna Mayberry.

From that point on, however, Ripon found itself playing catch-up for the remainder of the contest with Blythe in early foul trouble.

But that didn’t mean that they were out of the running.

With under a minute left, the Indians managed to narrow Hughson’s lead to two with the advantage of having possession underneath their own basket and a chance to either tie or win.

After Blythe missed her attempt from beyond the 3-point arc and snagged her own rebound, her ensuing layup attempt also fell short, inducing a nail-biting fight for the ball as the clock dropped to seven seconds before Contente called his final timeout to give the team another chance.

The ensuing inbounds pass from Paulina Ceja was stolen by Hughson’s Karli Stark who took the ball the length of the court for a layup that sealed the game for the Huskies.

“We missed a lot of shots tonight – a lot of easy layups that we should have been able to put in the basket,” Contente said. “We dug ourselves a big hole early on and we just couldn’t climb our way out of it.”

Lauren Fedderson led the scoring for the Indians with nine points scattered throughout the four quarters of play. Blythe, Skye Dominguez, and Rachel Rodriguez all netted five points each.

With the loss, Ripon (3-3 TVL, 9-13) will await the next release of the Sac-Joaquin power ratings, where they held the 17th spot just one shy of the playoff cut in Division IV. Hughson (5-1 TVL, 16-5) was ranked 11th coming into Thursday’s game.

The Indians will face Riverbank on the road next Tuesday to begin the final two weeks of the TVL season. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Ripon Christian 42, Riverbank 23
Kelsey Tillema, Kathryn Van Groningen, and Kayla Evens all netted eight points for Ripon Christian, while Tillema also snagged 11 rebounds, blocked three shots, and picked up a steal. Van Groningen pulled in four rebounds and a steal, while Evans was credited with an assist, three rebounds, and a steal.

With the victory, Ripon Christian (3-3 TVL, 9-10) moves into a tie for third place in the TVL following Ripon’s loss to Hughson. Riverbank remains winless in league play.