It will be home sweet home for Ripon High’s boys basketball team in the second round of the CIF Northern California playoffs Saturday.
The Ripon Christian girls, meanwhile, have a tough road ahead as they take on battle-hardened Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
Ripon (19-13), seeded fifth in the Division IV tournament, is coming off a 56-45 win over No. 12 Gridley. The Indians should expect more of a fight from 13th-seeded Arcata (25-5). The Tigers are seeded last in the bracket but proved their worth Wednesday when they opened with a lopsided 66-36 victory over No. 4 Central Valley (Shasta Lake), the Northern Section’s Division IV champion.
Arcata will have a size advantage over Ripon. Tom Witzel, a 6-foot-7 forward heading for Humboldt State, burned Central Valley for 19 points, while 6-3 wing Latrell Wilson added 12. Guard Will Taylor and forward Cameron Wallace — both 6-4 juniors — each chipped in with eight points.
The Tigers are champions of the Humboldt-Del Norte League Big-5 division and lost to Richmond powerhouse Salesian — the top-seeded Division IV team in NorCals — 69-53 in the North Coast Section semifinals.
The No. 7-seeded Lady Knights of Ripon Christian (22-5) opened the Division V NorCal regional with a 50-41 victory over No. 10 University of San Francisco.
Don’t let second-seeded Eastside Prep’s 15-13 record deceive you — the Panthers are likely the best team RC will face all season.
Eastside Prep represents the West Bay Athletic League’s Foothill Division, an ultra-competitive conference for small private schools in the Central Coast Section. In the CCS finals, the Panthers defeated rival Pinewood of Los Altos Hills, 41-28 — and they finished in the bottom half of their league.
Eastside has no seniors and is led by 6-foot center Hashima Carothers. Sophomore guards Charmaine Bradford and Anisah Smith are other standouts.