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Ripon Christian uses double team to shut down Millennium for playoff victory
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RIPON – Ron Vander Molen was so worried about Millennium High’s Ruben DeLeon that the Ripon Christian head coach planned all week to double team him in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs Wednesday.
By using guard Will Heersink as the main force on the double-team, Ripon Christian was able to effectively shut down their leading scorer and take Millennium out of their game while at the same time opening up opportunities for post players like Tyler Goslinga and Steve Vander Molen who had a field day on the boards and no trouble finding the bucket.
The plan was good enough for the Knights to cruise to an 84-50 victory.
“We knew that he was a good all-around player and we were going to have to cover him the best we could,” Vander Molen said of DeLeon. “I give Will (Heersink) a lot of credit for sticking on him the way he did and taking him out of his game in that first half.
“That really proved to be instrumental.”
DeLeon was held scoreless in the first quarter thanks to Heersink’s shadow, and only contributed a bucket in the second – forcing the Falcons to feed the ball to outside shooters. He would score 18 of his 20 points in the game’s second half.
Meanwhile, 6-foot-7-inch Goslinga made the most of his aggressive low-post play by hitting three field goals in the first half while sinking all five of his free throw attempts. Goslinga finished the game with 24 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds for a solid double-double.
“At the start of the game they were playing a wiry zone and it was spread out, so I was able to get to the ball and make plays,” Goslinga said. “We played well together and developed a rhythm and I think that really made the difference early in the game.”
While Ripon Christian’s big man was getting all of the glory, it was fellow post Vander Molen doing damage inside and dashing Millennium’s chances of making a comeback.
While he recorded six rebounds as well as an assist and two back-to-back blocks, Vander Molen also went on a tear in the third quarter, where he netted four buckets en route to 10 points total.
“With Tyler we knew that we were going to have a big physical force, and we also knew that Steve was going to be playing a big role in hitting the offensive boards,” Vander Molen said. “I told the guys coming in that they were going to get more chances at offensive boards and put-backs than they ever would in the TVL, and when they capitalized on that it helped us put the game away.”
With the victory, Ripon Christian improves to 16-11 on the year, and will get ready to travel to Carmichael where they’ll take on Victory Christian Friday.
Victory Christian demolished Stone Ridge Christian of Merced 84-33 in opening round action Wednesday night.
The Knights have already faced Victory Christian once this season on the road – winning a thrilling 56-54 contest with a buzzer-beater – and played several other games at their home court during a January tournament.
“I think that they’re a good team, and we had a good game when we faced them earlier,” Goslinga said of Victory Christian. “We stumbled a little bit during league there, but I think that right now we’re doing fine and everyone is playing great together.
“We’ve played three games at their place, so it’s not going to be like we’re walking into an unfamiliar court.”