Saturday night was the seventh annual Hoops for the Cure Classic between Ripon and East Union, a fund raiser for cancer. For Lancers senior Ruby Daube, it was personal.
Daube suffered a recent family loss due to cancer and she played with a purpose in front of the home Dalben Center Crowd, scoring 28 points and making seven assists to lead East Union to a 65-38 non-league win over the visiting Indians.
“My dad’s sister passed away three months ago from kidney cancer,” Daube said. “Once we got the phone call I decided to dedicate this game to her. This was for a great cause.
“Coach has been telling us that we need to pick up on offense, defense and honestly, I just came out to play my game because this is my last pink game of my high-school career – I might as well give it my all.”
Lancers sophomore Donja Payne dominated in the paint with a double-double, scoring 24 points with 19 rebounds and three blocks.
“We have been having really bad starts,” Payne said. But this time we had really good starts and we just kept pushing and having good defense.
“We had a lot of energy out there. We just kept that energy up.”
Ripon (10-10) kept it close for most of the first quarter with five ties and three lead changes, but East Union (15-6) closed the opening period on a 7-2 run and never trailed again.
“We were sputtering pretty bad coming into tonight,” Lancers coach Jim Agostini said. “We had lost three in row and we haven’t been playing well.
“I thought our effort tonight was awesome. Ore role-player reserves got good quality minutes tonight and we just had a solid, solid night. Sometimes you need to forget about the pressure of winning league games and just have some fun and go out and play the game that you have passion for.”
Freshman Reina Sausedo paced the Indians with 18 points and four steals, scoring six of those points in the first quarter.
“I thought we did a good job of playing some defense early,” Ripon coach Rick Inderbitzin said. “It’s hard to contain Donja, being as good a player as she is, and Ruby too. I thought we did a good job in the first half but the second half we kind of let it get away from us.
“They just kept pushing it and they did a nice job of moving the ball around, getting some shots and rebounding. You have to give them credit for that. But otherwise, I was pretty proud of our girls because they played hard and we have to get ready for our next game and hopefully we can put together a couple of wins in league and see what we can do.”
This is Inderbitzin’s first Hoops for the Cure Classic game, taking over for George Contente who retired after last season. Last year’s game raised $8,333 and the total for this year’s was not available at press time.
“George Contente stepped down as Ripon coach last year and my buddy Rick (Inderbitzin) – who taught me a lot of the stuff we use when I assisted with him – took over,” Agostini said. “But for Ripon to continue to put on this event with us is pretty special and I would like to thank the Ripon Community, Ripon High School and the City of Ripon.”
East Union 54, Ripon 23
The Lancers held the Indians to single digits in every quarter.
Julia Vezaldenos had a double-double for East Union with 18 points and 11 steals along with six rebounds and four assists. Sara Gleockler (nine rebounds, five assists, six steals) and Nina Murphy (four assists) added nine points each.
Mia Culver led Ripon with nine points.
Ripon 43, East Union 27
The Indians rode a 21-point second quarter to a 31-14 halftime lead and to all the points they would need for the win.
Ripon’s Lili Mejia earned high-point honors with 20 and teammate Mikayla Vaughts added nine.
Jennifer Garcia led the Lancers with 12 points followed by Ashley Martin with 11.