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Knights season ends at Turlock Christian
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TURLOCK – After losing the big-time production of Briana DeVries to graduation a year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Ripon Christian girls basketball program heading into this season.
But just as they did a year ago, not only did the Knights qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V postseason, they picked up a playoff victory before it was all said and done.
But the season came to a close with a 37-27 loss to Turlock Christian.
Kelsey Tillema was her usual productive self, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, while Kayla Evans turned in seven points and four steals.
Raeline Witt contributed eight points and 12 boards, and Katherine Van Groningen got in on the act with a bucket of her own.
“I’m proud of the girls,” RC head coach Kirk Tillema said. “They grew and improved from the start of the season to the finish.”
Heading into the contest, RC knew it had to contain senior point guard Erin Santiago (game-high 20 points). While the Knights were able to work back from a first-half deficit to tie the contest midway through the third, Santiago finally got loose in the waning moments of the frame for back-to-back 3-pointers.
“That was the turning point,” Tillema said. “We came roaring back after not hitting a field goal in the first two quarters. But Santiago got hot.”
Santiago finished with five 3-pointers for the Eagles in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
RC finished the season 11-14 overall, 4-5 in Trans Valley League play, and said goodbye to four seniors Thursday night, including Witt, Evans, Lindsay Hannink and Christine Rettinhouse.

— Brandon Petersen