By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara Gazette — Kristine Ripson took a year off from basketball while establishing herself as on of the best junior college volleyball players in the region.
It didn’t take long for the Lewiston-Porter graduate to repeat the feat on the basketball floor.
Ripson was named the NJCAA Division II, Region III Women’s Basketball Player or the Year this week after leading Niagara County Community College to its best season on record. She averaged 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Thunderwolves, who won 13 games and reached the regional semifinals.
“She is an absolute joy to coach,” NCCC coach Nate Beutel said. “Everything you could ask for in a player, from hard work to leadership to an engaging personality. I feel blessed to have been able to convince her to play this season and look forward to helping her develop into the scholarship-level player I know she will become.”
Ripson was also the NJCAA Division II, Region III Volleyball Player of the Year. She is a sophomore at NCCC but plans to return next year to use her final season of basketball eligibility and earn an associate’s degree in massage therapy.
NCCC men’s basketball players Isaiah Johnson and Jon Marsh were both named to the all-region team.
Johnson led the Thunderwolves to a 21-win season, their highest in more than 20 years, averaging 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3.2 steals.
Marsh, a Buffalo native, averaged 16.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals.
Ethan Baker (Wilson) was named to the Region III all-tournament team. He had 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range, three rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal in the semifinal round loss to ECC.
Nthanda Longwe was a third-team all-region selection for the NCCC women. The sophomore forward averaged 9.9 points and 7.8 rebounds.