Kayla Wilson drained a pair of free throws with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be the difference in a 41-39 win for host Sierra over previously undefeated Ripon on Tuesday in non-league girls basketball action.
“Up until tonight people would say that the wins we had were games we should have won,” Timberwolves coach Martha Spivey said. “But beating a program like Ripon that has been so good year after year really says a lot about our girls and how hard they have been working and what we are capable of.”
Two of those girls who came up big for Sierra in the fourth quarter were Celine Barber and Tiffany Harris. Barber scored six of her team-high 14 points in the fourth and three of her game-high five steals. Harris, meanwhile, came up with five offensive rebounds and a key block.
“When we went into the fourth quarter I think we focused more and our defense was really on top of it,” Barber said. “After the third quarter we talked about how to transition our defense and everything came together.”
Harris finished with seven points, three steals and a game-high eight rebounds. The Timberwolves (4-2) won the battle of the boards 33-29.
“Tiffany Harris is a force inside,” Spivey said. “She was a recent all-tournament selection for our team and can carry us if she needs to.
“Celine Barber is a senior for us and she will do whatever it takes for our team to be successful.”
Wilson followed Barber with 11 points, three assists, three steals and four blocks.
The game started much better for the Indians (3-1) than it ended. Sierra took a 3-0 lead before Ripon exploded with an 11-0 run. The Timberwolves closed the gap back to 13-10 at the end of the first quarter on a 3-point buzzer beater by Wilson from the corner.
Although there were three ties in the third period, the Indians did not relinquish the lead until the start of the fourth quarter when Kristen Maestretti got a block for Sierra. Wilson grabbed the rebound and got the ball out to Barber who went the distance for a layup and a 33-31 lead the Timberwolves would not relinquish.
Ripon’s Ellie Waters led all scorers with 16 points and she made six rebounds. Teammate Kelsey Alexander added nine points and seven rebounds.
“We had too many turnovers and they did a nice job of rebounding,” Indians coach George Contente said. “We didn’t box out far enough and they crashed the boards. That was the difference in the game.”
The Indians edged the Timberwolves 35-32 and were led by Haley Monroe with 10 points.
Trayana Davis scored 10 points for Sierra and Brianna Padua had eight.