Things just got a little more interesting in the Trans-Valley League after Ripon Christian was dealt its first conference loss Friday at Riverbank, 70-60.
Nik Keydeniers set the tone early for the host Bruins (4-3 TVL, 8-13 overall) and scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half. Wolfgang Lopez then took over in the final two periods when he poured in 14 of his 20.
Riverbank hit nine 3s in all, three each coming from Juan Hernandez (11 points) and Chris Jennings (nine points). Riverbank led 23-16 after the first quarter and was in control throughout.
“I’m not disappointed in our effort,” Ripon Christian coach Ron Vander Molen said. “It was their homecoming and they were pumped up for it. We didn’t play that poorly. Our defense wasn’t quite good enough but they just beat us. They were hitting shots and played very well, so credit to them.”
Sean Broker led Ripon Christian (6-1, 16-5) with 26 points. Danny Vander Molen (six assists) and Austin Alger (seven rebounds) added 11 points apiece.
Ripon Christian leads rival Ripon by a game in the standings but has a big week coming up starting with Tuesday’s tilt at Escalon (1-6, 10-14), a dangerous squad that has lost by an average of 5.2 points in league. Three days later the Knights host Ripon.
In Ripon, Aaron Paschini returned from a one-game absence and an illness to score 14 points in the Indians’ win. Cole Stevens led the way with 18, and Cody Haines added eight.
Ripon (5-2, 14-10) led by 15 points at one point in the fourth quarter when it made just one field goal and shot 11-for-20 from the free-throw line. The Indians were 16 of 30 overall from the stripe. Hilmar (2-5, 11-13) was led by Alec Cano’s 13 points.
“It was a good bounce-back win for us,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. His team was coming off a 55-47 loss at Hughson.
Valley Oak League
Central Catholic 78,
In Lathrop, the Spartans (3-8 VOL, 4-20 overall) were able to keep pace early on and were down 16-14 after one, but Central Catholic (5-6, 13-11) seized control the rest of the way with its superior size and outside shooting.
Sophomore Jared Rice topped all scorers with 20 points and was 11-for-11 from the free-throw line for Central. Josh Hamilton contributed 14 points, and 6-foot-8 center Jordan Boddie had 13. The Spartans got 10 points each from Avraj Bal, Junior Ballard and Isaiah Ellis.
Central Catholic 60,
Idowu Olaleye scored on a put-back layup off Isaiah Hunter’s missed 3, and Central Catholic ran the final 4 seconds off the clock to escape triumphant.
Michael Mills paced the Spartans with 14 points, Roman Martinez added 11 and Hunter finished with 12.
Central Catholic 42
The Spartans turned what was a three-point ballgame at halftime into a blowout that ended prematurely. The Central Catholic head coach was hit for three technical fouls, and the officials called the game with 3:52 left in the contest.
Michael Ballard still managed to fire 27 points, while Colin Weis chipped in 15 points and seven assists.