HILMAR — After his team blew out Hilmar in the Trans-Valley League opener, Ripon girls basketball coach George Contente warned his team of a possible letdown in the rematch on Thursday.
“Especially with us being on the road, we told them that we have to be focused for this one,” Contente said. “In that gym, with our past history, there’s always something going against us. Tonight, we just couldn’t make a shot.”
Jill Jamero was able to make them count when the Indians needed them most. Her two free throws with about a minute to go represented the final points scored in a 29-27 win that keeps Ripon alone in first place. Hilmar’s Hailey Chavez missed a desperation 3-pointer from well behind the arc at the buzzer.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket to save our lives,” Contente said. “We had 29 steals and 49 rebounds, we just could not put the ball in the hole.”
Jamero led Ripon (7-0 TVL, 14-8 overall) with 11 points, while Chavez racked up a game-high 18 for the upset-minded Yellowjackets (2-5, 9-12), who led 21-17 after three quarters. Their first meeting was nowhere near as close, as the Indians rolled, 51-19. Thursday’s win, though, counts the same.
Ripon returns to action next Thursday, Feb. 4 against visiting Escalon.
Ripon Christian 47,
HUGHSON — Hughson (1-6, 3-16) led 18-11 after the first quarter, but Ripon Christian (5-2, 11-9) stepped up defensively the rest of the way.
“That was the difference of the game,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “We picked up the pace defensively, especially in the fourth quarter, and we were able to get quite a few offensive rebounds.”
The Knights outscored Hughson 15-7 in the fourth quarter. Jessica Orozco scored seven of her team-high 12 points to lead Ripon Christian. She also finished with eight rebounds and five steals. Bailey Broker (nine rebounds) and Kelley Engel added nine points apiece. Hannah Alcorn did most of the damage for the Huskies, firing 20 points.
“For some reason we always have a tough time playing there,” Mulder said, “but it real important for us to start the second half (of league) on a positive note after struggling against Ripon on Tuesday.”