RIPON — Ripon Christian High is preparing for its final season in the Trans-Valley League, and the Knights would like nothing better than to go out with a season to remember.
Among RC's goals are to win as many games as possible, make a push deep into the Division 5 playoffs and hang tough against TVL juggernaut Modesto Christian. But for starters, the Knights will settle for winning the title of their own tournament.
Ripon Christian got 27 points from 6-foot-8 senior center Tyler Goslinga and a combined 42 more from the perimeter tandem of Daniel Van de Pol and Logan Vos to defeat Millennium 77-63 in Friday's first-round game. The tourney hosts will play Linden tonight at 6:30 for the championship after the Lions tripped Central Catholic 37-34.
The Knights are off to a 6-1 start thanks to some of the best inside-outside balance shown so far in the district. Goslinga, one of the area's most improved post players, is averaging 19 points per game and has developed a full array of post moves to go with his skills as a passer.
"It's different from last year when we had me and David Vander Schaaf and had a big inside game," Goslinga said. "But now with Logan and Daniel and Steve (Vander Molen,) they can get it going from the outside to keep the double- and triple-teams out of the middle."
Van de Pol hit three 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, while Vos had four 3-pointers and all 20 of his points in the game's opening 17 minutes.
And that's when the game was decided, as the Knights embarked on a 19-5 run midway through the second quarter to build a 42-23 lead just before halftime. Van de Pol and Vos had eight points apiece during the spurt.
"Having a 6-8 guy in there makes everything so much easier," Vos said. "Getting the ball to him, he attracts a lot of attention, and we work on the inside-out game a lot."
Millennium (3-3,) the defending champion of the Harvest Christian League, traded baskets with RC the rest of the way and never got closer than 12 points despite the 27 points and five 3-pointers of senior guard Asad Khan.
"We have goals, some more lofty than others," Goslinga said. "We want to compete with Modesto Christian this year. They're a very solid team but they don't have the kind of superstar they've had in the past."
In the opener, the normally methodical Raiders never found that method. After slogging to a 21-15 halftime lead, Central (4-3) managed only 13 points in the second half.
It certainly didn't help the Raiders' cause that they converted only 4 of 14 free throws, just three days after going 5-for-16 at the line in a 56-51 win over Downey.
"The other night against Downey we played a second half that was the opposite of the first, and then like tonight we missed a lot of free throws," said Central coach Mike Wilson. "And that's after spending 45 minutes the next day working on it."
Dan Hulst led Central with 11 points, while Linden's 6-7 senior center Aaron Judge led all scorers with 12 points.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.