Ripon Christian appears to be hitting its stride.
After dropping its first two contests, including Monday’s Foundation Game against East Union, by large margins against larger-school opponents, the Knights have won two straight while capturing the Escalon Lions Club Tournament consolation title. They drubbed Millennium 55-34 and held the opponent to single-digit scoring in each of the last three quarters.
“In the first night of the tournament (56-30 loss to Bear Creek) we did not play well on defense,” Ripon Christian coach Ed Mulder said. “We’re getting better and better every game and starting to shoot the ball better, so that’s encouraging. Overall, tonight was a pretty good team effort.”
Anchoring the team once gain was returning center Carly Tillema, who burned the Falcons for 20 points and 11 rebounds for her second straight double-double. Bailey Broker and Nicole Broker each added 10 points.
Ripon Christian graduated four starters last year, including Southern League MVP Teagan Manus. With eight new players up from the lower levels, this year’s group of Knights is in search of its own identity.
“Carly is my lone returning starter from last year and she’s playing really hard,” Mulder said. “We’re a little more team oriented this year, maybe not quite as talented but we’re more balanced.”
Ripon Christian travels to Sierra next Tuesday for a nonleague game.