STOCKTON — There’s going to be plenty of high fives in the hallways of Ripon Christian High School on Monday.
The school’s boys and girls varsity basketball team went to Spanos Center with a chance to raise section banners for the first time in many years. And frankly, it could not have gone any better.
First, the Ripon Christian girls beat Forest Lake Christian 52-46 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI title, its first section crown since 2002. After the Knights finished celebration, their boys team came out on the court and defeated defending champion Sacramento Adventist 59-51 to claim its first title since 1996.
The championships were won in front of a huge crowd of Ripon Christian supporters, many of whom were students who turned the journey to Stockton into a “field trip,” according to boys head coach Mark Hofman. And the players can’t wait to get back to school on Monday.
“It will be a fun day, you know that,” said boys team guard Cade Alger. “I think there will be a lot of high fives in the hallway, between the players and just everybody being happy for us.”
One person who was particularly happy to be a part of the celebration was girls team player Renae Heida, who fractured her right foot a few weeks ago but went out and had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Yeah, it hurts a lot,” Heida said. “But I was going to play.”
Her coach, Ed Mulder, said “She’s just a tough kid.”
Ripon Christian's girls (17-12) led 35-28 at halftime, but the Falcons (20-6) opened the third quarter with a 9-0 lead to take the lead.
“It was a game of runs,” Mulder said. “I thought at times our defense lacked and they made some runs, and I thought we could have handled the ball better at times. But once we put that behind us, we were OK.”
Rilee Clark had 11 points and Kelly Engel and Ariel Vander Woude had 10 each for Ripon Christian. Breezy Adams had 16 points for Forest Lake Christian.
The Ripon Christian boys (19-9) also had a tussle against the Capitals (25-5), who were trying to win its second consecutive section title. The score was tied 28-28 at the half, and Sacramento Adventist managed to build a five-point cushion, 49-44, going into the first quarter. Both offenses shut down, with neither team scoring for the first 2:58 of the fourth quarter.
Austin Ries got the Knights going with a layup, and Jadon Vander Molen hit a three-pointer to tie the game. The Falcons went up by a point by making a free throw, and Fletcher Jackson hit a three pointer to put Ripon Christian up 52-50 with 3:04 remaining.
The Knights' most glaring advantage was on the boards, where they out-rebounded the Falcons 40-19.
“That’s a character marker,” Hofman said. “There’s the ball, go get it. How bad do you want it. I don’t know if we were shooting particularly well, and we had some turnovers. But that’s something that can equalize it.”
Alger and Andrew Vander Weide had 13 points for Ripon Christian, and Jackson had 10. Griffin Trull had 19 for Sacramento Adventist.
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8282 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@ScottLinesburgh.