Marshall Morrin, second from left, and Isaac Mills, right, apply pressure to a Watertown Lutheran Prep ball-handler in the back court. Ripon forced several turnovers.
Marshall Morrin, second from left, and Isaac Mills, right, apply pressure to a Watertown Lutheran Prep ball-handler in the back court. Ripon forced several turnovers.

   The end was in sight for the Ripon High School boys’ basketball team last week Friday night.

   It trailed host Watertown Luther Prep 48-37 with around eight minutes left in its regional semifinal game and was in danger of falling even further behind the Phoenix.

   That was until the Tigers cranked up their defensive intensity.

   Ripon forced several steals and turned them into easy buckets to help it mount a 13-2 run that cut the deficit to 50-49 with a little more than two minutes left to play.

   But it couldn’t get any closer as it fell to the Phoenix 55-52.

   The Tigers, who were the No. 6 seed, finish the year 10-14 overall. Watertown Luther Prep, the No. 3 seed, ended up losing to No. 2-seed Laconia 59-50 in the regional final and end the year 15-7.

   “When I look back, [I’m] extremely happy with the product that we put on the floor for the most part on Friday,” Ripon head coach Steve Brooks said. “They didn’t quit. They, for the most part, kept their head about them. They did what we asked of them. From a coaching standpoint, that is what you want your kids to do, especially at the end of the season.

   “There was just a couple times where we just couldn’t get that extra stop or that rebound or the ball to a bounce a certain way and ... ultimately that ended up being the difference and we just kind of ran out of time there at the end.”

Read the full story, which includes information on a stretch that ended up costing Ripon, in the March 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.