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Timberwolves top Merced after honoring coachs milestone win
BBSK--Merced-Sierra pic 2
Sierra head coach Scott Thomason signals to his players before running the offense. - photo by ZARIA GRIFFIN/

Sierra defeated visiting Merced 57-43 in non-league basketball action Friday night.
The highlight of the evening was not Jess Spivey’s 22 points for the Timberwolves or teammate Ogun Delaney’s nine fourth-quarter points.
Sierra coach Scott Thomason was awarded a plaque before the game for his 300th win that came on the road Wednesday in a 66-44 thumping of Golden Valley. 
The milestone puts Thomason – who began coaching for Sierra in 2000 – in some elite company as Timberwolves baseball coach Jack Thomson has 561 win and Sierra soccer coach Manuel Pires 377.
“It makes me think of all the former players that have played for me and all the coaches that have helped me along the way,” Thomason said. “It hasn’t just been me.
“I have had a lot of help along the way and it reminds me of how old I am getting.”
After the Bears (0-1) had narrowed a 15-point lead to six with 5:20 left in the game, Sierra went on an 11-2 run started by a Jamille Grady 3-pointer assisted by Spivey and six straight points by Spivey.
“They have some good players and I think (Merced coach) Hector (Nava) does a great job with his team.” Thomason said. “He gets them prepared.
“We had a 15-point lead and then all of a sudden we were up by six and then Jamille Grady hit a big 3-pointer and then Spivey came up big with some put-backs.”
Spivey’s 22 points led the Timberwolves (2-0).
“I just wanted to put it on them and end the game,” Spivey said. “My teammates got me the ball and I just finished layups.”
Delaney started off the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for his first points of the night.
“I had a rough first half,” Delaney said. “We came back in the second half ready to put it on them and I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win.”
Grady had 12 points and was the only other Timberwolf in double figures.
“I think we played hard,” Grady said. “We have some things to work on and clean up but we are going to be a good team.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jared Pazin (11 points) and A.J. Stewart (23 points) drew Merced within 42-36 before Delaney’s 3-pointer turned the tide.
“The kids never put their heads down,” Bears coach Hector Nava said. “They are taught that with a lot of energy and a lot of hustle good things will happen. I can’t question the effort. The effort was there but you have to finish the possessions.
“But Sierra did an outstanding job on defense. They spread us and we couldn’t attack the middle – they did a good job on that – and they forced us to the last second of the shot clock.”
Thomason sees that he has some work to do.
“We made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Thomason said. “We gave up too may rebounds, had some sloppy turnovers and missed some free throws and assignments. We are going to get better. We are going to keep scrapping and playing hard and I like the character of our team.”
Spivey had five rebounds in the fourth quarter and finished with eight.
“He came alive,” Thomason said of Spivey. “Obviously he is our go-to player. He has really improved his game.
“He is playing with a lot of confidence. He had 30 points on Wednesday and 22 tonight. He is obviously a good player.”

Sierra 58, Merced 57
Eduardo Jasso had 14 points for the Timberwolves with Jaylen Jackson adding 11 and Carson Anderson 10.
Sierra 60, Merced 56
Carl Rice led the Timberwolves with 23 points.
David Farfan had 10 for Sierra and Joseph Tarango nine.