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T’Wolves stuff upset bid, run VOL streak to 25

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Sierra’s Guillermo Nunez scored a game-high 18 points, including these two late in the Timberwolves’ 50-41 victory over the Lancers.


POSTED February 2, 2013 12:18 a.m.

Justin Patton picked up a prone Justin Nieto, lifting the East Union guard off the ground as they tangled for a loose ball.

A few possessions later, Emmanuel Elijah spun Robbie Gleockler to the ground in a similar scramble.

Finally, Guillermo Nunez used a burst of speed to blow past his defender for an easy layup, igniting the home crowd.

With a wicked fourth-quarter combination, Sierra sent its crosstown rival home with a message for the rest of the Valley Oak League:

The tough-to-beat Timberwolves aren’t going to give a game away – much less a rebound or a possession – in their bid for a second consecutive league championship.

The score Friday night was proof positive. Nunez scored a game-high 18 points and Sierra forced East Union into 22 turnovers in a 50-41 victory that had all the dramatics of a heated rivalry. Minus the upset, of course.

Sierra (11-0, 21-3) has now won 25 straight league games, and its latest entry was a testament to its physicality and tenacity.

It certainly wasn’t the Timberwolves’ smoothest performance.

“We didn’t shoot the ball really well. We must have turned the ball over a hundred times,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “We didn’t value the basketball at all and we’ve got to play better than this.

“Still, I was happy with our grit. Guillermo hit some big shots and I thought our defensive did a good job on their Big Three.”

The Timberwolves jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first quarter, but saw East Union cut the deficit to 25-23 on Nieto’s bucket in the lane early in the third quarter.

Then East Union stepped into a bear trap.

Trailing 30-25 after a coast-to-coast layup by Nieto, the Lancers’ bench was assessed a technical foul for arguing a call on the offensive end.

That was all the blood-thirsty Timberwolves needed. Nunez knocked down the two free throws with 1:21 left in the quarter.

“In a game like this, a defensive battle, any chance to get free points we’ll take it,” Thomason said.

Seconds later, Nunez swished a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to extend the lead to 10, 35-25.

Just like that, East Union’s upset bid was snagged.

“There was a lot of contact down there and I felt like it was a terrible call – a call that shouldn’t be made in a crosstown game like this,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said.

Sierra built a lead as big as 14 in the fourth quarter.

Eric Melgar turned three 3-pointers into 13 points. He had eight alone in the first quarter. Patton finished with nine points for Sierra, which debut at No. 1 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings released earlier this week.

The Timberwolves’ league winning streak canvases two seasons. Its last loss was on Feb. 18, 2011, a 67-56 loss to Weston Ranch.

“We have a chip on our shoulder,” Thomason said.

“People don’t understand how hard it is” to stay focused, he later added. “They don’t get complacent. They stay hungry. This senior class is going for their fourth straight championship. They want to make history.”

East Union (5-6, 16-7) wanted its own happy ending.

Jacob Danhoff and Jordan Kron led the Lancers with 13 points apiece.

Nieto, who aggravated an ankle injury in the first meeting with Sierra, scored all 10 of his points in the second half, but struggled to get East Union into a rhythm offensively.

The Lancers had 13 turnovers in the first half and were limited to four third-quarter points.

“Their defense makes you start high, but we just missed shots. That’s it,” Lewis said. “We got good looks. The ball just wouldn’t roll in for us.”


Sierra 53, East Union 22

Joshua Patton scored 13 points, Hunter Johnson had 10 and Sierra (7-3, 16-3) held East Union to just seven first-half points in a rout.

Gabe Chavez and Kyle Emerson had five points apiece for the Lancers.



Sierra 53, East Union 44

The perfect record is still intact.

The Timberwolves ran their season-long winning streak to 19 games and clinched at least a share of the Valley Oak League crown.

Tanner Peterson led three players in double figures with 14 points. Daniel Wyatt had 11 and Jes Spivey 10 for Sierra, now 19-0 and 11-0 in league.

Austin Miller had 15 points for the Lancers, while Daniel Ramos finished with 11.

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