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Ripon rolls Huskies in TVL opener
Balanced attack too much for Hughson to stop
Ripon High’s Sereena Hertel makes her way to the basket during the Indians’ TVL win over the Hughson Huskies Tuesday.
RIPON – When the Hughson Huskies cut the Ripon High lead to two with 5:15 remaining in both schools’ Trans Valley League opener, it looked as if Ripon could be on their way to defeat. But that scenario would not play out on Tuesday, as the Indians executed to perfection down the stretch to pull away with a 55-43 win.

Hughson captain Madelyn Birchall launched a 3-pointer that hit nothing but net, trimming Ripon’s five-point fourth quarter lead, but that would be as close as the Huskies would get, scoring just four points over the game’s final five minutes of action.

“We kind of got a little fatigued there at the end, so we had to get some people out,” Ripon head coach George Contente said. “Once we did that it worked out pretty good. We pressed them and made some good things happen.

“They always play us tough; no matter what they’re going to play hard.”

Ripon (1-0 TVL, 8-8 overall) did everything they needed to do to hold off a determined group of Huskies, taking care of the basketball and handling its business at the foul line, sinking five of six free throws in the game’s waning minutes.

The Indians used a balanced scoring attack, finishing with four players in double-figures. Lauren Feddersen led Ripon’s offensive quartet, turning in 16 points. Teammate Sereena Hertel added a dozen, while Kendra Contente and Rachel Rodriguez scored 10.

“That’s usually the way it goes when we play well,” Feddersen said of the level scoring. “It’s easier for us to spread the scoring around and pass it around to everybody.

“We don’t have ourselves a one-man team.”

Hughson relied heavily on its one scorer, Birchall, needing every one of her game-high 28 points to stay in contention. Birchell came out scorching, hitting from behind the arc as well as around the basket. In the midst of Hughson’s comeback, she tacked a free throw on for a three point play, followed by a 3-pointer. She would add another bucket and a free throw for a 10-point fourth quarter and a league-opening loss.

“She played a really tough game; you have to give her credit, she made a lot of shots,” Contente said of Birchell. “We just didn’t play very smart defense at times and she got hot.

“We had to change our personnel on her to try and stop her hot shooting, because she didn’t miss.”

Ripon put together and impressive non-league schedule, battling with programs that gave the squad a look that will definitely prove beneficial throughout a tough TVL. The Indians know a climb to the top of the league standings will be steep, yet the group played like it’s prepared for the challenge.

“We know the TVL is going to be a grind,” Contente said. “We’ve got to face (Modesto Christian); we’ve got to take care of Riverbank Thursday here. Everybody is going to be tough; we know everybody’s going to be gunning for us. It should be another tough season.

“We were finally able to pull this one out at the end, but it was still a grind.”

Ripon will be back on the hardwood Thursday when they play host to the Riverbank Bruins. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Ripon Christian 46, Riverbank 18
RIPON — The Knights opened their TVL season with vengeance, outscoring the Riverbank Bruins 15-2 in the first period on their way to a 46-18 win Tuesday.
Kelsey Tillema led all scorers with 19 points and teammate Mikaela Alger added a dozen in the Ripon Christian win.

The Knights (1-0, 7-8) never let up on the Bruins, outscoring Riverbank in each of the first three quarters. Tillema was also the leading force on the glass for the Knights, pulling down seven rebounds. Amanda Boersma chipped in seven points, four assists and six steals.

Ripon Christian will suit up Thursday in a league showdown with Escalon. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ripon Christian.