MODESTO – Sierra did not score a field goal in the final nine minutes Saturday and managed just one point in the final quarter of a defensive struggle with host Modesto Christian in a defensive struggle won by the Crusaders 43-28 in the finale of the Martin Luther King Showcase.
“If you score five points in the second half, who are you going to beat,” Timberwolves coach Scott Thomason asked. “You just have to make shots and we missed some layups around the basket and couldn’t get going from the outside.
“I liked our purpose. I thought our defensive game plan was pretty solid. But I have to give Modesto Christian credit because they made the plays in the second half and we didn’t.”
Both teams brought high-octane offenses into the contest but neither could manage to break through. Sierra (15-2) led just 10-7 after one quarter and Modesto Christian (13-3) battled back to lead 25-23 at halftime, a score more common with these teams early in the second period rather than to start the third period.
“They are an excellent defensive team,” Crusaders coach Richard Medgley said. “We had some good opportunites inside that we didn’t convert.
“Íf they are not the best-coached team in the area they are definitely one of them. They knew what we were looking for and defended us really well.”
Josh Patton (10 rebounds) and Devin Nunez (five rebounds, two assists) each had nine points for the Timberwolves with Nunez hitting three 3-pointers. Modesto Christian’s Christian Ellis hit eight points in the pivotal third quarter and led all scorers with 18 points.
VA Excel Academy 65,
Weston Ranch 63
Teresa Haley gave the Cougars a 52-51 lead early in the fourth quarter but could not hold it very long as the Pumas took the lead back at 54-52 and did not relinquish it the rest of the way.
Elisabeth Alexander (22 points) hit a 3-pointer with 14 second remaining to draw Weston Ranch (13-3) within 63-59. An Alexander field goal made the score 65-61 and with 1.3 seconds remaining Victoria Gulley (20 points) narrowed the gap to 65-63. VA Excel Academy (12-8) just beat the ensuing five-second clock on the throw-in to secure the win.