Attacking the basket, hitting open 3s and playing hard-nosed defense is Sierra’s recipe for success.
Victor Elijah and the Timberwolves accomplished all they wanted to in devouring visiting Turlock 58-35 on Friday. It’s their most complete effort so far this season.
The rugged 6-foot-2 Elijah set the tone, scoring Sierra’s first seven points en route to a game-high 16 and eight rebounds.
“He told me he’s hungry,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “He wants to eat at 7 p.m.”
With Elijah drawing attention in the interior, the Timberwolves (6-2) were able find open guards in the perimeter. They drained eight 3-pointers in all, three apiece from Jamille Grady and Bikram Thiara. They each finished with nine points and three steals.
“Jamille and Bikram have been shooting the ball well lately,” Thomason said. “There’s a difference between being open and being open and in rhythm, and tonight they were in rhythm. We got back to that inside-outside-inside mentality that we like to have.
“Good, all-around team effort,” Thomason added. “Guys are playing hard and as a team. It was good basketball to see.”
As efficient as Sierra was on the offensive end, it all started on defense. The T’wolves gained separation with a 12-0 run capped by a Thiara 3-pointer to start the second quarter. The Bulldogs (2-4) were held scoreless in the period until Alex Garcia buried a corner 3 with 2:57 remaining. The Timberwolves forced 13 turnovers in the first half and 23 total. Cameron Sherwood, Alden Norquist and Mustafa Johnson tallied six points each to lead Turlock scorers.
“It’s momentum for our team,” Thiara said. “Everything we do (on defense) is a momentum push for our offense.”
They continued to pour on the pressure at the start of the second half, mounting a 15-1 run powered by four 3-pointers that took the Bulldogs out of their zone defense. Sierra outscored Turlock 19-5 in the period, and the Bulldogs didn’t make a field goal until Garcia made a transition bucket with 1:24 left.
Sierra took its largest lead at 51-21 on three free throws from Ryan Brock (seven points), who was fouled on a 3-point attempt 14 seconds into the final quarter. Parmvir Singh (seven points) converted a pair of free throws with 5:41 to go when the Timberwolves took out the starters.
“At halftime the game starts over for us,” Thiara said. “It’s 0-0, that’s our mentality. Just like we want to deliver that first blow in the first quarter that’s what we want to do in the second half. Coach just gets that into our head and we came out and executed.”
Sierra 63, Turlock 39
Jaedan Melone scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the first quarter as the Timberwolves rolled to a nonleague win.
Miguel Segueira added 11 points, and Jesse Ortiz-Martinez had 10.