George Contente looked at West Campus and Colfax as potential opponents first round opponents for his Ripon High girls basketball team.
Turns out the Indians may end up seeing both.
Seeded 14th, Ripon (15-12) is preparing for Tuesday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff opener against Golden Empire League co-titlist West Campus (18-6). The winner likely gets No. 6 Colfax (18-9) two days later.
“The way the (MaxPreps divisional) rankings were looking, (the bracket) was pretty much close to what they had,” Contente said. “We were guessing it was either going to be West Campus or Colfax. It’s definitely a shorter drive to Sacramento, but if we win we’d probrably have to go up to Colfax anyway.”
Ripon, winner of four of its last five, has already taken the hard road to the postseason. The Indians were 5-7 in games decided by six points or less during the regular season, and two of those losses ended in overtime against Trans-Valley League champion Riverbank.
Contente believes his players are not only battle hardened, but well-prepared for the postseason because of the quality and variety of the their non-league opponents.
“Our schedule, the way it worked out this year, was pretty tough,” Contente said. “We saw different styles with competitive teams that are faster or bigger. We had to learn to play against different styles and I think we’ve done that. Maybe not always as well as I’d like, but overall they did a good job of making those adjustments.”
Contente has yet to see West Campus play but has an idea of what the Indians are up against. The third-seeded Warriors fast and young with sophomore Namiko Adams (16.0 points per game) and freshman Kiara Jefferson (13.2) leading a deep backcourt. Adams once scored 20 or more points in five straight games in December.
West Campus doesn’t have much height in the post which could bode well for Zaire Davis, Ripon’s undersized forward averaging 13.9 and 11.5 rebounds per game.
“Obviously we’re travelling so we’re taking the approach that we’re already down,” Contente said. “But we’re playing pretty decent right now. The girls are excited and are having great practices, so hopefully that carries over.”