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Ripon hangs with MC for a half
Ripons Tia Sidtikun shoots over a Modesto Christians Lexi Tubbs during Wednesdays Trans-Valley League loss. Sidtikun paced the Indians with 17. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

RIPON – Maybe Ripon didn’t even believe.

Being down by a basket and heading into the locker room for halftime likely didn’t even make sense. How was Ripon supposed to believe they could be the first team to knock off Modesto Christian in Trans Valley League play in head coach Rob Spencer’s dozen years at the helm.

If that wasn’t the case and Ripon felt like they could come out of halftime and do the unthinkable, its play didn’t support that. The Indians slowly dwindled away, getting outscored 22-10 to close the contest and fall 59-41 for their first TVL loss.

“I think the intensity wasn’t there after they hit those three straight out of halftime,” Ripon High senior Sidtia Sidtikun said. “After that we dropped our heads and the intensity left.

“I think we just had a different attitude.”

That was also the case for Modesto Christian.

Over the past decade they have had teams crumble on the highway in route to the game. There is not a team in the TVL that seriously holds aspirations of knocking off the behemoth. Outside of the Ripon Indians.

For whatever reason, Ripon was there early and looked poised to take the Crusaders to the limit, even if they weren’t able to stop the unbelievable league winning streak. Ripon lead after one, had offensive production from inside and out, and stood toe-to-toe with a talented and multifaceted Modesto Christian offensive set.

The Indians offensive productivity was the first to vanish, scoring just four points in the entire second quarter on baskets from Haylee Fannin and Jessica Coit. The offensive drought was a glimpse of the inevitable that was on the way.

Ripon got 11 points from Ruth Waters and a team-high 17 from Siditkun, but 21 points from Lexi Tubbs and Jasmine Hampton (18 points) taking over the second half proved too tough to keep pace with

Almost like an animal waiting to pounce on wounded prey at any moment, Modesto Christian turned into the league’s best team over the final 16 minutes of play.

“We’ve had that problem for whatever reason all year, we have those slow starts,” Spencer said. “It has already caught up with us in each of the five games we’ve lost. Four of them are state playoff teams and they come out. We turn over the ball, or we don’t hit shots and it’s 10 -2 and you have to fight back.

“Our second halves the whole season have been great.”

It may be challenging for the Indians to get something positive out of an 18-point loss, but they have to. The two clubs will meet again (Feb. 5) and it will likely be the final shot at somebody stopping the streak this season. Pressuring Modesto Christian and knocking down shots for two quarters will not get it done. Finding a way to produce four quality quarters is still the challenge that remains.

“They were more aggressive then we were,” Ripon head coach George Contente said. “And that is what I think it came down to. They got a couple of loose balls and put them back up and got going. Our intensity level and our effort were not there and that’s what happens when you play a team like that.”