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Hughson claims pivotal league game with D
Ripon christian’s Christine Rettinghouse tightens her grip on the ball as Hughson’s Krista Bava (24) and Christie Hobby apply the double-team pressure. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin
RIPON — Whether it was the full-court press, half-court trap, man-to-man or 2-3 zone defense, Ripon Christian had no answers for Hughson in a 42-23 Trans Valley League loss Monday.
Hughson’s victory draws a two-way tie for second place, with defending champion Modesto Christian still on top at 3-0.
Junior center Kelsey Tillema averaged 10.5 points per game to lead Ripon Christian heading into tipoff, but on Monday she was held scoreless. Much of that was because of Hughson’s scrappy defense, which didn’t give Tillema any good looks at the basket.
“That’s the way we play defense, that’s the way we win ballgames,” Hughson coach Dennis Hobby said. “We don’t particularly shoot the ball real well, though we did tonight. But we win with defense and rebounding.
“We don’t have any year-round basketball players, but we have good athletes. You don’t have to win with offense, so that’s what we try to teach our team.”
Senior forward Christie Hobby, the coach’s niece, sparked Hughson (2-1, 13-5 overall) by scoring eight of her team’s 10 in the third quarter. Her three-point play with 2.2 seconds left represented the game’s first 10-point lead at 25-15.
Christie Hobby finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and five steals. Madelyn Birchell led all players with 14 points.
“She’s our best all-around player,” coach Hobby said of his niece. “She drives us offensively and defensively. She’s our senior captain, so that’s what she’s supposed to do.”
With Tillema stymied in the post, the Knights (2-1, 8-8) struggled to get points from the perimeter. Reserve center Christine Rettinhouse led Ripon Christian with six points.
“Hughson runs a very similar style of offense as us, they’re just real quick (on defense),” Ripon Christian coach Kirk Tillema said. “They move to the ball and they disrupt.
“We have to go back and work on being more efficient with the ball, because we had a few turnovers (25).”
Trailing 8-3 after one, Ripon Christian did well to break Hughson out of its full-court press and got as close as three, 12-9, on Kathryn Van Groningen’s jumper from the right wing with 1:05 left in the opening half
“When coach Hobby got out of the press, I thought that was going to be to our benefit,” Tillema said. “We just wore down in the second half a little bit, and they stepped up on defense.”
 Hughson recovered control of the game in the third period with its dominance in the rebounding department, as 12 of its 25 boards in the second half came on the offensive end.
Ripon Christian will look to bounce back Thursday when it plays host to in-town rival Ripon at 7:30 p.m.
Modesto Christian 76, Ripon 48
In Ripon, Modesto Christian (3-0, 13-6) broke a 12-12 tie after one by hitting six 3-pointers in the second quarter.
“That changed the game,” Ripon coach George Contente said of MC’s second-quarter hot streak from the arc. “We were playing pretty tough defense up to that point. It was one of those things where we were right there but they got hot.”
Skye Dominguez paced the Indians (1-2, 7-12) with 14 points, and Lauren Feddersen turned in 11. Kendra Contente contributed with nine points.