RIPON — Amber Hilvers searched for the words, trying her hardest not to sound disrespectful.
“There’s really not much to it,” she said.
She was talking about Ripon Christian’s ho-hum 64-27 rout of Ripon Christian on Monday. The Knights (10-0, 17-3 overall) are on a 14-game winning streak — their longest in more than 10 years — and have hardly had to break a sweat in their 10 Southern League contests.
Ripon Christian has shared the last two conference titles with third-place Turlock Christian (7-3, 15-8) but looks to be well on its way to going out with a perfect run. For basketball only, Ripon Christian returns to the more competitive Trans-Valley League next season after a successful four-year stint in the SL. Gustine (8-2, 11-5), which has split its season series with TC, edged Mariposa 38-37 Monday and has sole possession of second place.
“(Turlock Christian is) a (third)-place team in the league and we beat them by (close to) 40, so it’s hard to get the girls motivated,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “That was the talk we had (after the game). You’re not out to beat somebody by 60, but you’re looking for execution on offense and defense and blocking out — we just didn’t do any of that. It was sloppy all night.”
Ripon Christian committed 17 turnovers, much of them unforced throwaways to opposing players or the sidelines.
The Knights dominated from the opening tip, starting on a 9-0 run and leading 29-10 by halftime. The 6-foot-2 Hilvers scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half and also totaled 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Reigning league MVP Teagan Manus led all players with 18 points, eight boards, five assists, five steals and two blocks. She scored eight straight points — including a three-point play followed by a 3-pointer — at one point early in the fourth before sitting the final four-plus minutes.
Carly Tillema added nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Ellen Blankers dished out six assists.
It hasn’t all been this easy for the Knights. They were coming off Saturday’s thrilling 45-39 overtime win at rival Ripon in their annual nonleague tussle.
“We really hadn’t had that all season (in league) so we needed it,” Hilvers said. “In previous years I would start freaking out in close games and I feel like on Saturday I didn’t do that. I felt under control.”
And the Knights are in full control of their destiny in the SL. They head to Denair on Thursday and can clinch the championship next week.
Ripon Christian 65, Turlock Christian 6
The Knights (10-0, 20-7) held a 29-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and gave up just two points in each of the next three.
Julia Ray spearheaded the rout with 16 points. Jessica Van Vliet and Bailey Broker added 12 and 10, respectively.