The Ripon High girls varsity basketball team may be young in terms of experience.
But these Indians (2-0) are showing a knack of picking up some of the nuances of the game.
Take Thursday’s non-league game at Sierra High. Ripon scored a bulk of its points in transition, on layups, and put-back shots in the 51-19 victory.
“We were hurt by their press,” said Timberwolves coach Stephan Unterholzner, who also sports a young team.
The Indians’ pressure defense, particularly in the second period, frustrated his Sierra squad.
Ruth Waters, Ripon’s junior guard, triggered the attack, forcing steals while taking away the passing lanes.
Haylee Fannin, Ripon’s other guard, helped out by spotting the cutter or driving to the open basket, depending on the Sierra defense.
“We were able to read what’s going on, react, and make the right decision,” Indians coach George Contente said.
He was also proud of the way his girls worked together on defense.
“They anticipated the pass and provided some help-side (assistance),” Contente said.
Sierra, led by Lia Unterholzner – she’s one of just a handful of players returning from last year’s squad – claimed the early lead.
Down 6-2, Ripon slowly got untracked in the sluggish opening period with Mariah Cardenas dropping in a 3.
The Indians took an 8-6 lead into the second period and thanks to their press defense reeled off 17 unanswered points.
Fannin scored nine of her game-high 12 points in that run. Waters assisted Kelly Alexander’s basket and drove coast-to-coast for her bucket.
Sierra (1-1) finally broke the string at the 1:36 mark on Lia Unterholzner’s basket. She led the Timberwolves in scoring with 11 points.
The Indians, who led 27-8 at the intermission, maintained their advantage through the third by doing much the same from the previous quarter.
Sierra got its third-period points from the free throw line. Unterholzner was 3 for 4 and Jessica Lopez hit both of her free throws.
Ripon kicked off the final period on Tia Sidtikun’s low-post move to the basket coupled with her lay-in off the fast break.
“Our ‘bigs’ run the floor quite well,” Contente said.
Sidtikun finished with 11 points and Waters chipped in with eight.
Ripon 47, Sierra 13
Jordan Richter and Melanie Wilkerson paced the Indians past the Timberwolves.
Richter finished with a game-high 14 points while Wilkerson netted 11.
Ripon 27, Sierra 12
The Indians defeated the Timberwolves, with Emily O’Brien and Kattya Calderon leading the attack.
O’Brien hit for eight while Calderon added six.