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BOYS HOOPS: Sierra overcomes shooting slump to dispatch East Union
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Shut out in the opening quarter, Sierra eventually found its shooting touch to secure its first Valley Oak League of the season on Thursday.

Ryan Borgeson led the way with 21 points, and Noah Ramil added 16 that included four 3s as the Timberwolves surged past visiting East Union, 52-46.

Sierra (1-2) trailed 6-0 after the first quarter and it was 12-12 at halftime. The Timberwolves ended with a 24-point outburst in the fourth.

“Honestly, it was an ugly first half,” Sierra coach Eddie Morales said. “Both teams were missing a lot of shots. They zoned us up and we got good looks, we just couldn’t make shots.”

Morales added that tightening up on the boards helped his team gain separation. Diego Montes and Semaj Moore grabbed 12 rebounds each. 

“Down the stretch we held them to one shot,” Morales said. “I wish I could say it was great defense, but honestly they missed a lot of shots. Both teams had makeable shots, and if the ball bounces a different way we could have easily been on the other side of it.”

Dylan Lee paced shorthanded East Union with 11 points, and Bryan Howe had eight. It was the league opener for East Union (0-1, 1-1 overall), which hosts the rematch tonight.

“We’re a very young and inexperienced team,” first-year East Union coach Charles Legan said, adding that Lee, a sophomore, is his team’s lone returner. “They’ll learn from it and get better.”

Central Catholic 56, Ripon 53

Hosting its season opener, Ripon put a scare into the reigning VOL champion Raiders (2-0, 5-0 overall) who have already had a handful of games.

Ripon led 24-18 at halftime, then Arvind Sandhu got hot for Central Catholic. The senior guard fired 18 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter, and the Raiders won the fourth quarter, 18-11. Second-chance opportunities that turned into 3s helped Central get the advantage in the end.

“I’m most proud of the effort tonight,” Ripon coach Justin Graham said. “We’ve had one full practice with the entire team, so we’re still trying to figure things out. But all things considered, it was a great game and we look forward to playing them again (today) at their place.”

Malik Taylor racked up 21 points for Ripon, making 3 of 5 3-pointers. Nolan Young made 5 of 6 from the field and contributed 11 points. Bronson Burrow registered eight points and seven rebounds, while Logan Gillespie chipped in six and eight.

Ripon Christian 58, Escalon 52 (OT)

After helping his school’s baseball team notch a win earlier in the day, third-year senior guard Will Gilbert propelled the Knights (2-1) to victory at Escalon 

He accounted for eight of RC’s 15 points in overtime, finishing with 21. Post players Thys Van Der Hoek and Braden Van Groningen added 11 and 10, respectively. 

Brenden Holmes amassed 25 points for the Cougars (0-3 VOL, 1-4 overall).