For the second time in less than a week, the Ripon Christian High boys basketball team will tangle with Sacramento Adventist for a major championship.
The top-seeded Knights (21-9) host the sixth-seeded Capitals (27-5) in the CIF State Northern California Division VI regional final. The game will tip at 7.
The two met in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI final at the University of the Pacific on March 7. The Knights took advantage of their overwhelming height and edged the defending section champions, a guard-heavy team, 59-51.
Ripon Christian outscored Sac Adventist 9-2 over the final four minutes.
“I think we did (wear them down), especially in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter,” senior Andrew Vander Weide said in the postgame press conference. “They just shut down, mentally, and we took over."
The Capitals' Griffin Trull led all scorers with 19 points, but he was just 3 of 11 from the floor in the final 16 minutes.
The section title was Ripon Christian’s 10th and first in 22 years, and completed the school’s sweep of the D-VI bracket.
Hours earlier, the girls captured the D-VI title, and the two teams passed each other in the back halls of Alex G. Spanos Center.
On Tuesday evening, the Ripon Christian boys will have the stage to themselves.
The Knights are hunting for their fourth regional title. The school was dominant in the late 1980s and 1990s, capturing D-V championships in 1988, 1992 and 1994. Ripon Christian is 3-0 in regional finals.
The Knights storm into the final following 30-point victories over No. 8 San Francisco Waldorf and No. 4 Fall River.
Ripon Christian blasted San Francisco Waldorf in the regional opener, 79-49. Vander Weide scored 15 of his team-high 24 points in the first quarter. Cade Alger netted 13 and Jacob Vander Hoek 10 for the Knights, whose postseason run was primed in the Trans-Valley League. The smallest school in the TVL, Ripon Christian finished in a three-way tie for second.
The Knights advanced to the regional final with an 86-56 victory over Fall River.
With Vander Weide blanketed by two and three defenders, the Knights’ supporting cast answered the call.
Fletcher Jackson tallied a team-high 14 points, Alger had 13, and Braden Van Groningen finished with 10. Vander Weide had eight, but coach Mark Hofman told The Manteca Bulletin the 6-foot-7 senior was still “dominant.”
“Because of the attention he attracted, a lot of other guys got shots,” Hofman said. “It doesn’t seem like he was dominant, but he really was.”