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Tourney host RC playing for 3rd
GBSK--RC Tourney pic 1
Ripon Christians Elizabeth Weststeyn elevates for a short-range shot over Fresno Christian defender Tali Hill. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

RIPON — Ripon Christian’s small roster just got even smaller after splitting the first two games of its own 23rd annual Lady  Knights Invitational on Wednesday.

In the early-afternoon contest with Argonaut, the Knights lost senior Molly Hoeksema to a possible season-ending collarbone injury in the first quarter. Argonaut ended up winning 55-29, and Ripon Christian finished the game with only four players after two fouled out in the middle of the third period.

The Knights bounced back in the nightcap against Fresno Christian, winning, 44-34.

“If we’re fortunate to make the playoffs we could get her back then, but it was a pretty bad break,” RC coach Ed Mulder said of Hoeksema. “We’re going to have to see if there is something we can get from the JV team, but they only have seven (players) also. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now.”

Ripon Christian (5-7) has just eight players on the roster but one is on vacation. Elizabeth Weststeyn was the Knights’ leading scorer in both games, tallying eight against Argonaut and 15 points and 13 rebounds versus Fresno Christian. Renae Heida added 10 points and 10 boards in Game 2, while Kelly Engel had nine.

Fresno Christian (3-6) was paced by Macie Thompson’s 18 points. It was a nip-and-tuck affair until RC broke it open with a 17-9 fourth quarter.

“The girls were tired playing two games in a day with only six players,” Mulder said. “They found some strength in the fourth quarter to pull away.”

Ripon Christian tangles with Trans-Valley League rival Hilmar (6-6) for third place tonight at 5. Fresno Christian will play Big Valley Christian (4-7) in the fifth-place game starting at 3:30. Bella Vista (5-3) meets Argonaut (12-1) in the title game at 6:30.