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Top-seeded Venture Academy too much for Ripon in D-IV semifinal
Ripon-Venture Academy boys basketball
Ripon’s Ethan Baur (2) shoots over Venture Academy’s Jayden Fakhouri (24). - photo by SEAN KAHLER

STOCKTON — Host Venture Academy poured in 28 first-quarter points and never looked back Tuesday night, as the top-seeded Mustangs ran away with a 92-58 Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV boys basketball semifinal win over No. 4 Ripon.

“The better team won,” Indians coach Dean Balcao said. “They shot the ball well, and they rebounded better than we did.

“It we don’t rebound we don’t win the game. That’s all there is to it.”

Venture Academy (24-7) dominated at both ends of the court, doubling up the rebounds 36-18 with 14 of those coming off the offensive glass.

The Mustangs have won 16 of their last 17 games, and a fast start is nothing new to them.

“As of late, we have been getting the good starts,” Venture Academy coach Eric King said. “These boys have been together for a while. I have 10 seniors, and they make my job kind of easy.

“When we run fast and we get up the floor and are shooting good, we are pretty hard to beat.”

Marcus Madoski (three rebounds) came on in the second half, scoring eight of his team-high 14 points for Ripon (23-8) in the third quarter, including a resounding dunk that brought the Indian faithful to their feet.

“We were trying to knock it out and come back,” Madoski said. “We put ourselves in a really bad situation to start, and it was a battle out there.”

Landon Gillespie added 13 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Indians with Ty Herrin adding 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.

The Mustangs tallied four players in double figures — Mario Williams (26 points), Toriano Woods Jr. (16), Cameron Lowe (15) and Marcos Rosales (13).

Venture Academy will face No. 3 Natomas at UC Davis Friday night at 8 for the championship. NorCal pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon, and as a semifinalist the Indians qualified for NorCals.