Not even heavy rain could keep the “Garbage Truck” duo from making its rounds at Hughson High School.
Ripon’s boys basketball team has its three-headed monster – guards Cole Stevens, Aaron Paschini and Noah Hernandez – but it was the play of its less-heralded starters that helped the No. 2 Indians pull away for a 73-58 victory on Tuesday.
The Sisk brothers, Anthony and Kyle, combined for 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Kyle plunged the dagger into the Huskies with a 3-pointer with 1:54 left. The shot made it 65-54.
“Our role is … probably the garbage truck,” said Anthony, a 6-foot-3 senior. “We pick up all the trash, basically – all the rebounds and stuff. They’re ‘The Triple Threat,’ and we’re ‘The Duo.’ ”
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Clinging to a four-point lead after three quarters, the Indians closed with a 20-9 run over the final eight minutes. Ripon (13-4) is now 2-0 in Trans-Valley League play, while Hughson slipped to 0-2. The streaky Huskies (11-4 overall) have followed an 11-game winning streak with a three-game skid.
Regardless of record, Ripon coach Rod Wright expected a seesaw affair. Traditionally, Hughson has been hardest on Wright.
“It’s tough for us to play here,” Wright said, pointing to the baseline where assistant and former star point guard Justin Graham broke his ankle in 2005, altering the best season in program history. “I’ve had many losses here, so I worry about how we’re going to shoot and how we’re going to play. Hughson plays really scrappy and hard.”
Will Fiveash did his best to keep the Huskies close Tuesday, racking up a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Evan Madrigal scored 15 points as the Huskies kept the game close into the fourth quarter.
Fiveash and Madrigal tallied 12 of the team’s 17 points in the third quarter, and Fiveash opened the fourth with a 3-pointer to cut Ripon’s lead to 53-52.
From that point on, though, the Huskies sputtered and eventually stopped.
Ripon regained momentum with a 7-0 run, fueled by its energy on defense and the offensive glass. The Indians forced four turnovers early in the period, and the Sisk brothers kept a possession alive with three rebounds. Anthony Sisk finally finished with a layup to give Ripon a 60-52 advantage.
“We needed that,” he said. “We wanted a bigger lead, and our coach pushed us: ‘Energy, energy, energy.’ ”
Moments later, Paschini buried his third 3-pointer and Kyle Sisk followed with a wide-open trey out of the corner. With the shot clock winding down, Hernandez drove the lane and forced the defense to collapse, leaving Sisk alone on the perimeter.
His shot was pure.
“We expect him to hit those,” Wright said.
The Sisks have cemented their place in the starting lineup not by deferring to Stevens, Paschini and Hernandez, who combined for 53 on Tuesday, but by complementing the trio.
“Anthony has really solidified the middle for us,” Wright said, “and Kyle does all the little things right. You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to guard Cole’ or ‘I’m going to guard Aaron’ or ‘I’m going to guard Noah.’ Now, you’ve got Kyle, who is just as good as they are but doesn’t shoot it as much.”
“The Triple Threat” delivered in spurts. Stevens scored nine of his team-high 19 points in the first quarter, while Paschini sat with foul trouble.
Hernandez had 10 of his 17 points in the first half and closed the game with five more in the final 90 seconds.
Paschini did his best work from long range, knocking down deep 3s en route to 17 points. He got the Indians off to fast starts in the second and fourth quarters.
Anthony and Kyle Sisk had eight apiece.
“Those five core players are starting to come together,” Wright said.
It’s the bench that concerns Wright. His reserves scored just four points, all off the hand of 6-7 sophomore Vincent Olmo.
“We’re just trying to figure out how we can get six, seven and eight to score,” Wright said of his rotation. “Rhet (Herrin) gives us great minutes, and all those types of kids help. But when you get into the major teams with the same aspirations as us, you’re going to run into, ‘Do we have a post player that can score’ and those types of things.”