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SIERRA STARTS STRONG

Timberwolves in midseason form in thrashing of Ripon

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SIERRA STARTS STRONG

Sierra’s Emmanuel Elijah goes strong to the basket against Ripon High Thursday in the T’Wolves blowout win.

CHRIS LEONARD / www.leonardphoto.com/


POSTED November 30, 2012 1:10 a.m.

The only clue to the fact it was Sierra High’s first basketball game of the season was its record.

Sierra looked well coached, with balanced scoring, rebounding and the depth that coaches dream of in its 65-24 season-opening victory over the visiting Ripon Indians Thursday.

The Timberwolves outrebounded the Indians 11-0 in the first quarter and got scoring from five different players on their way to an 18-5 run to open the game. Senior guard Guillermo Nunez came out with seven first-quarter points, sinking a 3-pointer to put Sierra up 12-3 before handing off the scoring responsibilities to Emmanuel Elijah.

Elijah took off in the second quarter, scoring nine of his 17 in the quarter and giving Sierra exactly what it wanted in the season opener.

“It was very, very important,” Elijah said of the importance of a good start to the season. “We were still thinking about last year (loss in Sac-Joaquin Section championship) a lot and that was in our minds, so we are trying to move on and start the season off fresh.”

Elijah’s effort during Sierra’s second quarter was mirrored when Sierra returned from halftime, leading the Timberwolves on a 15-3 run to open the third and put the contest out of reach. Senior D’ari Allen provided Sierra crucial minutes early in the first quarter and during the third quarter run. The post presence was solid in the paint, finishing with eight points and eight rebounds including four consecutive boards at one point in the first.

“He brought some good energy,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said of Allen. “Our post guys got in foul trouble and that’s why you have a bench and that’s why you have depth. We like him, we like his athleticism. We like his energy; coming in the game about four minutes in when our guys are getting a little tired and he got some big time offensive rebounds. He got some fouls, went to the line, made some good post moves.

“I think he really sparked us tonight and I was really proud of his effort.”

Ripon (0-1) just could not get in a flow on the offensive end. When the team’s offensive sets would run their course, the end would result would often be a quality look, yet with unfortunate results. Ripon scored in single digits in each quarter, growing as a unit in uniform due to the late arrival of a handful of Trans Valley League champion football players.

“You’re on the road, first game, Cole Herrin’s first game back in a while, against a good team - it’s tough,” Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “Our plays did what they were designed to do, we just couldn’t finish. They (Sierra) were very aggressive going to the basket and very aggressive on second-chance points, we knew that was our weakness coming into the season.

“We’ve only got one real rebounder; we’re all guards.”

Nunez finished with 13 points, while Justin Patton helped dominate the boards with seven rebounds. Ripon got six points apiece from Herrin and Curtis Azevedo.

Sophomore

Sierra 62, Ripon 28

The Timberwolves rolled off with an easy victory Thursday when they handled the Ripon Indians 62-28 in both clubs’ season opener.

Jordan Thompson led the team with 16, while Christopher Stevens chipped in with a dozen.

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