By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon scraps out needed win despite sloppy play
Ripon’s Skye Dominguez and Rachel Rodriguez try to pull down the tough rebound in traffic. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin
RIPON — When all else fails, sometimes good old fashioned hustle does the trick.
Despite making just 50 percent of its free throws while committing 25 turnovers, 12 in the opening quarter alone, Ripon did plenty enough to mask its sloppy play and hold off Escalon, 40-32, in a pivotal Trans Valley League contest Monday.
“We weren’t really playing with that much confidence the whole game,” Ripon forward Skye Dominguez. “I think we’re the better team, but we couldn’t put them away in the first half. We just made a lot of bad mistakes.”
Ripon (3-2, 9-12 overall) was given every opportunity to ice it late, as it was awarded 20 free throws in the fourth quarter but made just nine. Kendra Contente, however, converted all five of hers attempts, including two off a technical foul that gave the Indians some needed breathing room at 39-32 with 50 seconds remaining.
Those nine made free throws down the stretch was key for the Indians, who had just one field goal — a Rachel Rodriguez layup 30 seconds in — in the final quarter of play.
Contente and center Lauren Feddersen finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds apiece to lead all players.
Dominguez struggled both from the field and the free-throw line but found other ways to contribute, collecting nine rebounds and seven steals to go with seven points.
Ripon finished the night 14-for-28 from the charity stripe.
 “It was frustrating; shots kept going in and out,” Dominguez said. “The game was kind of close, so I think that just made everyone a little more nervous and it put more pressure on us to make (free throws) in the end.
Escalon (1-4, 5-14) looked to be a step ahead following tipoff, taking an early 8-2 lead after Annie Gallego scored on a fastbreak opportunity.
Ripon didn’t take its first lead until early in the second, when Adrianna Maberry drilled a jumper from the wing with 6:24 left in the half.
“We just couldn’t get a rhythm going; there was no flow to the game,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “Mentally, we got out of what we were doing.”
Much that was because of Escalon’s scrappy play. The Cougars’ defensive pressure early on kept Ripon’s offense off-kilter, and though they were outrebounded 42-28 they were able to stay in the game with stretches of dominance on the offensive glass.
But the fouls mounted in the end for Escalon.
Gallego fouled out with a team-high nine points with still 5:37 to go in the contest, and reserve center Hannah Yarborough was whistled for her fifth foul with 1:27 left.
Point guard Anne Bacay (nine points) did her part to keep Escalon in it, as she accounted four of her team’s six in the fourth. Her long jumper with 2:14 remaining represented the Cougars’ final points of the game.
Ripon wraps up a big week back at home Thursday when second-place Hughson (4-1, 15-5) comes to town. Hughson defeated the Indians 43-29 in their first meeting on Jan. 20.
A win would be huge for Ripon, which is currently seeded 17th in the midseason Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff power ratings. The top 16 teams at the end of the season qualify.
“We have our destiny in our own hands to make playoffs, and that’s what we want to do,” coach Contente said. “So we have to take care of our business, and we have another tough one at home on Thursday against Hughson.”
Contente expects the anticipated return of starting senior guard Jessica Blythe, who has been out with a back injury.