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Jags leave Twolves in the dust
Sierras Asia Cortez drives the baseline, blowing by the Kimball defense during Wednesdays 52-41 Valley Oak League loss. - photo by CHRIS LEONARD / <a href=></a>

For a good portion of the first half, the Sierra High girls basketball team had visiting Kimball on the ropes.

But then the tables turned.

The Jaguars reeled off 17 unanswered points Wednesday en route to a 52-41 Valley Oak League win.

“We lost our intensity,” said Timberwolves coach Steve Unterholzner. “Kimball is a really, really good team.”

Evident of that was the Jaguars (3-0, 12-4) turning a 23-8 deficit into a 40-27 advantage midway through the third.

“Our shots weren’t falling,” Kimball coach Mike Granillo said. “But I told my girls just to be patient. (The shots) will fall.”

Sierra (1-1, 4-7) had jumped out to the early lead, catching fire midway through the first period with a 10-0 run.

Naomi Nunis, who netted 10 points, banked in a 3 to put the Timberwolves ahead. From there, freshman guard Katelyn Teixeira scored off a crossover drive to the hoop, a give-and-go from Valerie Nestor, and pull-up baseline jumper off a fast break.

Another freshman guard, Kayla Wilson, who hit for 14, delivered a buzzer-beating shot to make it 17-6.

Early in the second, Sierra built up a 23-6 advantage thanks to baskets by Celine Barber and Wilson.

“Sierra came out hot,” Granillo said.

The Jaguars put their struggles behind them by controlling the boards, playing tough defense, and making timely passes in the open court, erasing a 15-point deficit to go up 25-23 at the half.

Noni Kuumba was the catalyst in the attack, triggering the fast-break with her passing in transition while scoring on three occasions in the open court. She reeled off six of her 14 points in that second-period spurt.

Buckets by Sarah Nunes, Alexis Clark, and Ayida Peters provided the finishing touches as Kimball seized control of the game.

Sierra tried to stage a second-half comeback, getting a pair of 3s from Wilson and a follow up trey by Teixeira. But the Kimball lead was too much to overcome.

“We’re a young team,” said Unterholzner. “I thought we showed a lot of hustle and intensity early on.

“But we still need learn how to keep (the intensity) up during the course of an entire game.”

Kimball is also a young team, according Granillo, who employs four sophomores and a freshman. “We’re still coming together (as a team),” he added.

The Jaguars share the top spot in the VOL with Manteca.


Kimball 52, Sierra 35

Elizabeth Ma had 10 points in the Timberwolves’ loss to the Jaguars.

The Jaguars were paced by Isabella Lawrence and Daniella Barajas, with 13 points apiece.