Four Ripon players were recognized on senior night Tuesday, and they had more reason to celebrate following the Indians’ 36-27 triumph over Escalon.
The win clinches them the Trans-Valley League’s third and final automatic berth for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Coming into the regular-season finale they were tied with rival Ripon Christian for third place. Ripon Christian can still advance as an at-large qualifier in Division V.
“We were talking all along about having destiny in our own hands,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “They took that to heart tonight. It was one of those games they had to grind out, but it was good for us to get into a game like this going into the playoffs. They had to fight through adversity during certain parts of the game and came out with a victory.”
Ripon (6-4 TVL, 15-12 overall) could never fully get untracked after it carried a 10-5 lead into the second period. Tuesday’s contest was far different than the first one between these two teams; Ripon routed Escalon 46-8 on Jan. 29.
All but two Ripon players scored with Zaire Davis’ 12 points leading the way. Jenelle Anderson had 13 points for the Cougars (0-10, 7-18).
“We got into a little foul trouble in the first half, and all game we had a lot of good looks but just couldn’t get (shots) to go down,” Contente said.
Ripon Christian 38
The second-place Huskies (8-2, 11-9) raced away with the victory behind a 14-2 fourth-quarter flurry.
Carly Tillema had 10 points to pace Ripon Christian (5-5, 14-7), and Ellen Blankers finished with eight. Hughson’s Jessica Garcia topped all scorers with 18 points.
Ripon Christian 40, Hughson 26
The Knights are TVL co-champions with Mountain House after dropping their first league contest of the season.
Abby Buitrago netted 17 points and three 3s, while Lyndsey Van Groningen grabbed 11 rebounds to go with her nine points.