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For Sierra, two is better than one

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For Sierra, two is better than one

Sierra point guard Eric Melgar attacks the basket in the Timberwolves’ season opener against Ripon Nov. 29.

CHRIS LEONARD / www.leonardphoto.com/


POSTED January 25, 2013 12:52 a.m.

Guillermo Nunez and Eric Melgar were once adversaries.

“I just remember in the eighth grade us playing each other at the Boys & Girls Club,” Nunez said. “He was the little quick guy that nobody could guard.”

Nunez wasn’t bad himself.

“He was able to shoot the ball real well and was pretty hard to guard, too,” Melgar said.

Together, they are that much tougher to stop.

Sierra High’s defending Valley Oak League champion boys basketball team has two interchangeable guards who ignite the offense and spark the defense.

“I like combo guards, guys who can handle the ball, pass and shoot,” said head coach Scott Thomason, who is working on capturing the program’s fourth conference title. “We have some other weapons out there that are able to get the ball where they want because of them. I’m glad to have those two guys wearing the blue and silver.”

While this is Nunez’s third varsity season, Melgar’s emergence may come as a surprise to some. The diminutive senior played in a reserve role on last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III runner-up squad that finished 27-4, and at 5-foot-5 he is easy to dismiss as a threat.

“I just play hard and let my hard work be my height,” Melgar said.

Little Melgar has routinely come up with big for the Timberwolves (8-0 VOL, 18-3 overall). He averages 9.3 points and 4.0 assists, and he makes just an important of an impact on defense where he uses quickness and craft to harass ball handlers. Sierra allows just 42 points per game and only once gave up more than 50.

 “I thought he would be doing this a little bit last year for us, but when you’re coming off the bench you play to not make mistakes,” Thomason said. “Now he’s playing with some fearlessness and he’s playing with great confidence. It’s not really a surprise to me.

“The team has always known how good he is, but I still think he can play a better. I think he’s just scratching the surface right now.”

Scary thought.

Weston Ranch head coach Chris Teevan, who will lead his Cougars against visiting Sierra in tonight’s first-place battle, already thinks the world of Melgar.

“That kid can play,” Teevan said. “He has to be the MVP of their team. When I’ve watched him, he scores when he has to score, he defends and he can go to the basket. For us, he’s the one I worry about the most.”

That’s good news for Nunez and all other Timberwolves capable of putting up points in bunches. He is Sierra’s leading scorer at 15.7 ppg, but like Melgar he has other ways of making a difference.

“We need him to score, but he trusts his teammates,” Thomason said. “He’s a silent assassin. He has a killer instinct about him, and he’s a guy who wants the ball in key situations. He’s been there and done that. He’s our go-to guy and is one of the better players to have put on a Sierra uniform for me.

“What he’s all about is winning, and that’s the biggest and best stat you can have. I think that’s going to be his legacy.”

Nunez and Melgar are part of a senior class that already owns three league championships, including two at the lower levels. Tonight, Sierra puts its 22-game league winning streak on the line.

“I’m excited,” Nunez said.

“Looking forward to it,” Melgar added.

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