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Ripon pounds Lathrop with defense, Rodriguezs 16 points
Rachel Rodriguez muscles her way to the hoop against Lathrop’s Krystal Ruiz for Ripon. Rodriguez finished with 16 points. For additional photos, visit . - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD

LATHROP — The Ripon High girls varsity basketball team incorporated tough pressure defense to go with plenty of hustle plays while routing the Spartans in Thursday’s non-league game.

The Indians (2-0) won, 52-26.

“It was a tough night,” said Lathrop High coach Ed Fang said.

The Spartans (1-1) were often caught up in Ripon’s trap plays, resulting in turnovers.

“Ripon came ready to play,” Fang added.

George Contente, meanwhile, was pleased with his team’s overall play.

“We were able to control the tempo with our pressure,” said the Indian coach.

Ripon’s defense also forced the Spartans into occasionally rush their shots, according to Fang.

Lathrop looked good early on, with guard Jasmine Elder chucking up a 3-point basket at the start of the game and Blessie Caro sinking one from close range.

But the Indians went on a roll by scoring 10 unanswered points. Rachel Rodriguez and Tia Sidtikun connected on free throws while Kristie McCann had a steal and quick basket.

Ripon did a solid job at the free throw line, connecting 17 of 23 from the stripe.

“We’re getting better (on our free throws),” Contente said.

Rodriguez netted six of her game-high 16 points in the second period, scoring once on an-bound play and twice on put-back baskets.

At the intermission, Ripon held a comfortable 24-10 advantage.

The Indians increased their lead in the third period thanks to a fast-break basket by Kendra Contente and a bank shot and inside hoop from Megan Morais.

Lathrop was behind 33-10 when Brittney Rallios finally came through with a field goal and a chance at a three-point play.

Elder provided the only glimmer of hope for the Spartans, hitting a pair of fourth-period treys including three for the game. She finished with nine points.

Caro, Rallios and freshman point guard Diamond Gomez had five points each for Lathrop.

“This game was a good test for us,” Fang said.

His team return to action against Consumnes Oak come the following week.

Ripon will host Tracy on Tuesday.

The Indian coach is hoping to see his team continue to improve with each game.

“We’ve talked about how players will have to step up (in the preseason),” Contente said. “I think we saw some of that tonight.”