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Sierra center Patton claims MVP honor

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Joshua Patton reaches up for a rebound during Sierra’s 52-27 win at East Union on Feb. 7.

HIME ROMER/Bulletin file photo

POSTED March 4, 2014 2:23 a.m.

Defense wins championships for Sierra High’s boys basketball team.

MVP awards, too.

Joshua Patton, the Timberwolves’ 6-foot-7 center, was elected Most Valuable Player of the Valley Oak League and picked for the All-Defensive Team during the year-end coaches meeting. 

Patton is the third Timberwolf in as many years to earn the honor and fourth in the last six seasons to do so, following Christian Williams (2009), Will Ward (2012) and Guillermo Nunez (2013), who shared the distinction with former Weston Ranch standout Dylan Alexander a year ago.

“Coach (Scott Thomason) called me that Sunday and told me about it,” Patton said. “I was happy, as anybody would be. It was one my goals. I worked my hardest in the offseason to achieve things like this, but honestly I was surprised.”

There were other talented centers in town, but Patton stood out with his dominant play on defense. He averaged 11.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in league. Thomason said he broke the school’s single-season record for blocks “by a long shot.” In a 71-46 win over Weston Ranch, Patton recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 13 boards and 10 blocks. After, Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan called him “the best big man in league and an even better kid off the court.”

The area is well-represented on the All-VOL first team, with players from Manteca Unified schools occupying every spot. Fellow Timberwolves joining Patton were 6-4 forward Hunter Johnson (12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds) and guard Devin Nunez (12.3 points) — both juniors. Nunez was also made the All-Defensive Team.

Thomason was named Coach of the Year after leading Sierra to a seventh 20-win season in eight years. The T’Wolves finished 20-7 (12-2 in league) but was upset in the opening round of the playoffs, ending their run of Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final-round appearances at two.

“We had a good year this year and I’m proud of all my teammates,” Patton said. “We’re looking forward to getting back at it for next year and hopefully go even farther for playoffs.”

Six-foot-6 seniors Michael Hatfield and Jake Danhoff are other notables on the first team. Hatfield averaged 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in leading Manteca (10-4, 19-9) to second place and the playoffs. He buried two game-winning jump shots in league, including a fall-away attempt from near 3-point range that stunned Sierra 47-45 late in the season.

Danhoff tallied 18.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for of East Union (1-13, 9-16). Senior wing Nicholaus Obazuaye (16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds overall) helped Lathrop (9-5, 17-11) reach the postseason for the second time and win its first-ever playoff game. Weston Ranch sophomore point guard Jaelen Ragsdale (14 points, 6 assists, 2 steals) rounds out the first-team honorees.

Lathrop point guard Nilo Yuson (11.5 points, 5.5 assists, 3.3 steals overall) and Manteca guard Austin Haro (12.5 points, 4.8 rebounds in league) are two of the five All-VOL second-team members. Miguel Lopez (Manteca), Bryson Sanders (Sierra) and Jazz Swanson (Weston Ranch) earned honorable mention. T.J. Conley (Lathrop) and Erron Duncan (Weston Ranch) were selected for the All-Defensive Team.

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