RIPON — Ripon Christian exploded on a 16-0 run in the second half Friday to trim a 20-point deficit to four in the fourth quarter, but Ripon righted the ship and held on for a 67-57 Trans-Valley League win at Ripon High.
“When they went on their 16-0 run we were settling for too many 3-pointers, too many outside shots,” Indians coach Rod Wright said. “We had no penetration, no point touches and no kickouts. It’s rare with this group to go a long time without scoring.”
Aaron Paschini, Cole Stevens and Noah Hernandez each hit a big 3-pointer down the stretch, but Hernandez’s bomb from NBA 3-point range with 2:59 remaining bumped the Ripon lead to nine points at 63-54.
“Once Noah got that big 3-pointer late that gave us the opportunity to exhale,” Wright said. “That out a lot more pressure on them to execute.”
Hernandez led all scorers with 23 points, scoring 11 in the first quarter, and he had seven rebounds and four assists.
“We wanted to push the ball up the floor and get the easy transition bucket,” Hernandez said. “Or then kick it and knock down some 3s.”
Paschini (12 points, four rebounds, four steals, three assists) started the game out on a defensive tear, making three steals in the first two minutes.
“I play scrappy defense but coach always tells me to gamble,” Paschini said. “So I gamble – it’s what I am good at.
“The third quarter they kind of had us but we kept playing hard.”
With Paschini and Hernandez handling the perimeter, sophomore Vincent Olmo took care of the duties in the paint for the Indians (5-0 TVL, 16-4 overall) in his best game this year with 12 points and six rebounds.
“You have to be physical against them,” Olmo said. “They have a lot of big players so you have to box them out and focus on rebounding.
“It is always and exciting game when you play Ripon Christian because they are your home-town rival.”
Knights coach Mark Hofman was pleased with his team’s effort.
“My guys played hard,” Hofman said. “They executed and played well.
“The league is extremely balanced and Ripon is a very, very good team. I am happy with how we played, just not happy that we lost.”
Andrew Vander Weide had a double-double for Ripon Christian (1-4, 10-8) with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
“He has been getting better and better,” Hofman said of Vander Weide. “And teams have been doubling him. He is a big part of our offense.”
Hernandez found a cutting Paschini for the game’s last basket with a beautiful no-look pass.
“I practice that pass all the time,” Hernandez said. “Aaron and I have that chemistry. That’s nothing.”
Stevens had seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and finished with four rebounds and four assists.
Ty Biedleman had a double-double for Ripon Christian with 15 points and 11 rebounds and teammate Zack Cortright had 10 points and five steals.
Ripon Christian 38
In a battle for first place in the TVL, the Indians handed the Knights their first loss while remaining undefeated in league play.
Justin Hansen led Ripon with 21 points. Spencer Schroen added 18 points, 10 steals six assists and five rebounds with Ryan Daggett and Dallas Waters chipping in eight points each and Baz Cheema grabbing nine rebounds.