RIPON — There were times Tuesday night when Ripon showed it could compete with once-beaten Riverbank.
There were even moments that it proved capable of even beating the Bruins.
“We felt that way coming into the game,” Ripon head coach George Contente said.
The Indians instead suffered their eighth defeat in nine games, 50-42. And it doesn’t get any easier for them; up next is Modesto Christian, a squad likely eager to get back at Ripon for last year’s shocking loss that forced a share of the Trans-Valley League championship.
“Ripon beat MC last year and tied for the TVL, so I was expecting a good game — they always give us a good game,” Riverbank point guard Olivia Luu said. Ripon is such a great team and they have a great coach. They came to play today, especially at home.”
Luu led Riverbank with 19 points and six rebounds, and her sister Janelle Luu added 13 points and nine rebounds. Chloe Arnold contributed nine points and seven boards, Lily Garcia had eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
Ripon (1-2, 5-9) started well, getting off — and converting — open looks from inside and out while committing only a single turnover. Kelsey Alexander accounted for half of the team’s first-quarter points, and the Indians went into the second ahead 14-13.
“Every game there’s always that one quarter …,” Contente said, struggling to find the words while venting his frustration.
That one quarter would be the second, when Ripon was shut out from the field and scored all five of its points on free throws. Riverbank (3-0, 15-1) carried a 24-19 cushion into halftime and never trailed from there, though Ripon was able to close in 33-31 by the end of the third.
The Bruins iced it from the free-throw line, making their final eight attempts in the final minute. They finished 13 of 19 from the stripe, while Ripon made 13 of 22.
“We gotta put four quarters together,” Contente said. “We talked about it before the game. That’s been our Achilles’ heel, that one quarter where we kind of lapse … Being young, we’re making mistakes at inopportune times.
“We’re getting better,” he added. “We had some good things out of it. We had some good plays and made some good shots.”
Youth and injuries have stunted the Indians this season. Alexander played her second game since injuring an ankle on Dec. 19. The third-year senior led all scorers with 22 points and buried three 3s.
“We haven’t been healthy all year,” Contente said. “This is the first (week) we have Kelsey back and she’s at about 80 percent.”
Ripon Christian 33,
Big Valley Christian 23
Abby Buitrago anchored Ripon Christian (8-4) with 14 points and 11 steals in this nonleague affair in Modesto.
Lindsey Van Groningen and Beth Weststeyn both had six points and seven rebounds