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Ripon holds off Gridley in NorCal opener
Indians get to host second-round game thanks to Arcatas upset win
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RIPON — The Ripon High Indians advanced in the CIF Northern California Division IV tournament Wednesday by beating Gridley at the North Gym, 56-45.

They’ll play host to Arcata at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Thirteenth-seeded Arcata upset No. 4 Central Valley of Shasta Lake, 66-36.

Against Gridley, Ripon used a balanced scoring attack coupled with solid free-throw shooting down the stretch.

“We played this game at their level until the final three minutes,” Indians coach Rod Wright said.

By that, he referred to the Bulldogs’ quick tempo through most of the second half. Ripon (19-13) finally played its game in the final three minutes, moving the ball around the perimeter while working the shot clock.

Cole Herrin, Kyle Wengel and Greg Taylor hit free throws to help clinch the win.

“That was bonus,” said Taylor of his foul shot.

Ripon’s 6-foot-3 senior forward chipped in with five points and nine boards.

Herrin led the way with a game-high 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Gridley (14-14) kept the game close until Herrin’s layup followed by his straight-away 3 midway in the fourth.

The Bulldogs made it a two possession game after Aaron Medina’s two free throws, 46-40.

After Wengel and Gridley’s Ryder Canada traded treys, Ripon closed things out by connecting 5 of 6 from the foul line. Jake McCreath also hit bank shot down in the final minutes. He had eight points and 11 boards including six on offense.

Early on, the Indians played aggressively on offense led by Conner Jones, who drove strongly to the hoop in getting six of his 10 points in the first quarter.

“I had to let (Gridley) know that I was another scoring option,” he said.

The Indians put together an 11-3 run in the second quarter. Josh McCreath’s drive to the basket was followed, in order, by Taylor drawing the offensive foul and Herrin finding Jake McCreath inside for the basket and one.

But Gridley answered by reeling off seven unanswered points to close out the first half.

The Bulldogs went ahead briefly in the third on Kevin Mattos’ trey. The Indians reclaimed the advantage when Anthony Baciocco his four straight from the line.

Ripon made it 36-28 on baskets by Henk Gaalswyk, Jones, and Herrin.

Gridley pulled back to within two after an 8-2 run led sparked by Mattos, who had seven points, five rebounds and five steals.

Gaalswyk’s buzzer-beating put-back shot gave the Indians a 40-36 advantage after three.

The Bulldogs came to within two once again following free throws by Mattos early in the fourth.

Ripon slowly pulled away thanks to baskets by Wengel, Herrin and Jake McCreath.

In addition, Wengel finished with eight points including a pair of 3s.

Mat Scott, Gridley’s 6-4 center, finished with 11.