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RC mauls Grizzlies in first Southern League contest
Ripon Christian center Raeann De Rousse prepares to lay it in from the low block in front of Mariposa’s Shaqual D’Kindred in Monday’s Southern League opener. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
RIPON — Ripon Christian’s girls basketball team wanted to make a statement, but first-year head coach Ed Mulder didn’t expect the Knights to pummel visiting Mariposa in such resounding fashion, 62-19.

“No. Not at all,” he said with a surprised expression on his face.
Monday’s contest was Ripon Christian’s first in the Southern League after spending the last couple decades in the Trans Valley League, and it certainly made quite the first impression. The margin of victory is the widest of the season for RC (1-0, 8-3 overall), and the point total is the most tallied.

Center Raeann De Rousse led the way with a double double, 20 points and 11 rebounds, and 5-foot-11 forward Mikaela Alger added 24 points and eight rebounds.

A few jumpers were made from the elbows, the wings and along the baseline, but most of the Knights’ work was does inside. They scored 40 of their points in the paint and were 12-for-15 from the free-throw line.

“This is our first year in the Southern League, so we’re looking at it like we’re starting from the bottom and we want to make our presence known,” De Rousse said.

They definitely did that inside and out and everywhere in between. Ripon Christian held a 46-20 rebounding advantage, and its floor game, much of which fed off a press defense, produced 17 assists and 18 steals to just 12 turnovers.

Janelle Engel contributed 11 rebounds for RC, Janeen Viss tallied five assists and Kaylie Colyn collected five steals.

The Knights were up 15-6 after the first quarter and opened the second with a 16-2 run to bust it wide open.

Mariposa (0-1, 6-9) — already missing one of its top players, sophomore forward Khristina Schellentrager, to injury — was outmatched. The Grizzlies were led by 5-10 post Emily Brossard’s 10 points.

“We’re playing much, much better defense, and we’re working really hard on that,” Mulder said. “The girls performed very well and I am very, very happy with the way they played.”

Mulder wouldn’t call it much of a statement, though. He prefers to call it Step 1.

As the new kids on the block, Mulder wants his team to tread cautiously and not look past anybody. A home game with defending champion Turlock Christian on Jan. 18 looms in the distance, but the Knights’ sights are set on Waterford.

“I think we’ll do OK (in league, but) Turlock Christian is still the favorite,” Mulder said. “We play them in (two weeks), but like I told the girls we need to beat Mariposa then we have to beat Le Grand and Denair.

“We have to be 4-0 going into that game, but we have to be 3-0 before that.”