Add another vigorous loss to Turlock Christian's boys basketball team’s winless history against the Ripon Christian Knights, after an intense Southern Athletic League matchup on Tuesday night.
The Eagles were 16 minutes away from a potential win that could have boasted them into the second place position in league, but the Knights had another thing in mind as the offense went on a 35-24 run in the second half, which proved to be enough to seal the 64-51 win.
“I've got to give credit to Ripon [Christian] they came in today and hit their shots and we didn’t — that’s the bottom line,” Turlock Christian head coach Eddie Sai said.
The four game winning streak is over and the Eagles (15-8, 7-3 SAL) find themselves comfortably in the third place position just below RC with only four league games left.
“I explained the significance and how important it is to beat RC, which we have never done in our history, so we had set our standards high and it was all business tonight,” Sai said. “The guys played hard; we just came up short and shots didn’t fall at the end.”
TC did not lead all game long but managed to tie it at 29 each in the opening minute of the third quarter, but it was Travis Vander Molen of RC who responded with back-to-back threes that extended the lead to six and put the Eagles up against the wall.
The Knights 17-8 third quarter run was concluded with a buzzer beater from near the half-court mark, which put the Knights up 37-46 going into the final quarter.
“Overall we did a good job playing man, but letting up for that split second hurt us,” Sai said.
Entering the fourth, it was the Eagles who scored first but the Knights retaliated every time a point was scored and this carried into the final quarter.
The lead was cut to single digits five times in the fourth quarter but the ability for the Knights to drain every shot, consistently, with ease really put pressure on the Eagles offense for the remainder of the game.
“Like I told the guys, you must have a hand in the face of the shooter because one possession will kill you when you’re playing Ripon [Christian]. If you leave them open they will knock down those threes,” Sai said.
Turlock Christian had over five players score seven or more points. The leader for the night was Jordan Riise who had a team-high 10 points along with five rebounds.
Senior Seth Retemeyer finished with nine points and Kameron Vogt had eight.
“I think we played well, shots just weren’t falling at the end and some lousy turnovers but I felt our defense and offense played well overall,” Riise said. “My teammates set me up well at the beginning; we play as a team, it’s not an individual game, and I just worked with my teammates.”
There are only four SAL games left for the Eagles, who must win out in order to get the second place spot. Play will resume as they will travel to Le Grand with a starting time of 7:30 p.m. on Friday.