No. 2-ranked Ripon rolls past Panthers

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


COLE BOOTH of Plymouth tries to score as Ripon’s Austin Lopez (5) and Marshall Morrin defend in Friday’s ECC basketball game. Plymouth’s Derek Schweiger looks on. – Photo by Jason Hassel COLE BOOTH of Plymouth tries to score as Ripon’s Austin Lopez (5) and Marshall Morrin defend in Friday’s ECC basketball game. Plymouth’s Derek Schweiger looks on. – Photo by Jason Hassel PLYMOUTH – The 1-2 scoring punch of seniors Bennett Vander Plas and Eddie Muench powered the Ripon Tigers to an impressive 68-43 win over Plymouth in a boys basketball match-up here Friday night.

Ripon, ranked No. 2 in the Wis- Sports.net coaches’ Division 3 poll, had too much size, speed, shooting prowess and aggressive defense for the Panthers. The Tigers upped their East Central Conference record to 2-0 (3-0 overall) while PHS dropped to 1-1 (2-3 overall).

Vander Plas, who has signed a national letter of intent to play at Division I Ohio University, scored a game-high 25 points and Muench popped in 21. Vander Plas, a 6-foot-8 forward, showed his all-round ability as he also led the Tigers in rebounds with 11 and assists, seven.

Vander Plas exploded for 18 points in the first half to spark the Tigers to a 39-25 halftime lead. He scored on drives to the hoop and from the perimeter.

Ripon used a 15-4 run to take a 22-12 lead with 9:14 left in the first half. Vander Plas scored his team’s final eight points in the spurt, including a layup off his steal. Muench scored two fast-break layups during the stretch.

Freshman Cole Booth’s threepointer shaved the Tigers’ lead to 22-15 with 9:00 remaining in the opening half.

Ripon outscored PHS 17-10 the rest of the half to mount its 14-point halftime advantage. Vander Plas keyed the run with eight points, including a trey, and a three-point play off a driving layup.

The Panthers pulled to within 39-28 when Adam Smith drained a three-pointer with 17:50 left but PHS was unable to come any closer.

Senior guard Alex Shutter led PHS in scoring with 11 points. Booth had a team-high two steals.

Brandon Keller, Cody Kuhn and Shutter led PHS in assists with two each. Derek Schweiger grabbed a team-best six rebounds.

Ripon shot well from the field __________________________ overall at 52 percent, compared to only 36 percent for PHS. The Tigers’ man-to-man defense surrendered few uncontested shots and forced 15 PHS turnovers. Ripon committed only six turnovers.

“Our kids played hard all-night long. Ripon is a very talented team and tough to beat,” said PHS head coach Tim Schultz.

“Vander Plas and Muench were able to get their shots. We made them work for their shots.

“Ripon’s defense makes you work and that’s what a talented team does,” said Schultz.

Ripon outscored PHS 15-3 at the free-throw line, led by Muench who was 7-for-8 and Vander Plas, 6-for-9.

Melvin Lee led the Tigers in steals with three.

“I thought we got better tonight and that’s what we want to do in practice and in games. It was a good high school basketball game and I’m pleased with the effort my kids gave me,” said Tiger head coach Dean Vander Plas who is Bennett’s father.

“We have some kids who can shoot it, and we have some nice size to us and I think that kind of wore Plymouth down late in first half and they really didn’t have an answer for it.

“Our defense and our ability to clean the glass [on the defensive board] helps generate our offense. We try to play inside/out [on offense] and tonight our kids did that,” said coach Vander Plas who was a basketball standout at Oostburg High School and UW-Green Bay.

“We moved the ball better [in this game] and we’re getting more effective on offense,” said Schultz. “We went after offensive rebounds better.

“Alex Shutter played a hard game. Cole Booth came in [off the bench] and gave us some spark.”

JUNIOR VARSITY GAMES

PHS cruised to a 54-26 win in the JV 2 game. The Panthers improved to 1-1 in the ECC (4-1 overall.

Zach Zeeveld led PHS in scoring with 13 and Joel Williams netted 12. Panther coach Scott Richards said Cooper Gosse played an excellent game.

In JV 1 action, the Panthers lost, 53-45, to slip to 1-1 in the ECC (4-1 overall).

Nick Falls led PHS scorers with nine, followed by John Aschenbach with eight. Falls had a team-high seven boards. Sam Shutter led in steals with three.


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