SALIDA — Weston Ranch High is back for the 20th annual Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic.
The defending champions were led by last year’s tourney MVP Gavin Wilburn in easily disposing of Turlock on Thursday, 72-40.
The Cougars (3-6) will take on Clovis East in Day 2 of this four-day event at 4:30 p.m. today.
“We played much better defensively,” said Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan after his team basically reduced the Bulldogs to a bunch of outside and jump shooters.
Wilburn had a strong first half against Turlock, scoring 12 of 13 points coupled with five rebounds, a steal and block. He turned a steal into a crosscourt assist to Mi’Son Coilton on the leak out in second quarter.
Wilburn and most of the starters sat out most of the final two quarters.
By then, Weston Ranch had built up a 55-24 advantage.
Cougars freshman Kodey Weary also had a strong game with a game-high 16 points and 10 boards.
Jordahn Johnson chipped in with 12 points including a breakaway slam dunk to kick off the third. He added eight rebounds including three on the offensive glass to go with a pair of steals.
Donjae’ Lindsey had six of his 10 points in the first quarter. He, Johnson and Wilburn helped their team take a 15-5 lead.
Ahead comfortably at the half, 42-20, Weston Ranch then orchestrated a 17-4 run in the third, boosting its lead, 59-24.
Teevan is looking for his team to continue executing on both ends of the court — a balanced scoring attack and strong overall defense — moving forward.
“We have more losses (than a year ago) but six of those eight were to the top teams in the state,” Teevan said.
This 16-team tournament is loaded with four section champions, four section runner-ups, 10 defending league champions and 11 teams that reached NorCal state playoffs.
Clovis East 54, Manteca 43
Nick Bell scored 17 for the Buffaloes in the tournament opening game to the Timberwolves.
"Our (basketball) IQ and mental toughness as a team are not there yet," said Manteca coach Jason Hitt.
Indicative of that were turnovers and missed baskets in transition, especially in the third quarter.
The Buffaloes (4-7) were down by four thanks to a put-back by Bell early in the second half.
Clovis East (8-3), a contender in the Central Section, responded with a 13-4 run.
Senior point guard William Wiggins found Trevor Vertiz inside on a no-look pass. Teammate Jermal Pittman got into the act, scoring 10 of his game-high 24 points in the second half.
Wiggins chipped in with 14.
Bell stood out for Manteca, hitting 8 of 9 shots from the field to go with nine rebounds.
"We need for him to get his motor at a faster start," Hitt said.
Spencer Briscoe netted 10 while Jordan Burciaga and Rashawn Ballard added seven and six, respectively, for the Buffaloes, who will take on Turlock today at 10:30 a.m.
James Logan 73, Ripon 43
Ripon (3-7) lost to one of the tourney's top teams in the Colts (4-3) of Union City.
“We played them a lot closer than that (final score),” Indians coach Justin Graham said. “The second half just kind of got away from us.”
The Indians trailed early on, 25-12, but closed the gap before the break, 34-28. Brah’jon Thompson accounted for 14 of Logan’s 25 points in the opening quarter before finishing with 17.
Ripon’s Malik Taylor led all players with 18 points, while Troy Brogan contributed seven to go with 10 rebounds.
Host Modesto Christian, which defeated Gregori, 81-66, will face James Logan at 6 p.m. in Day 2 of the tourney. The Indians will take on Gregori at noon.