STOCKTON – Bikram Thiara knows how to handle himself down the stretch.
In the final five minutes of Sierra’s thrilling 63-60 third-round consolation win Friday over Edison-Stockton in the McDonald’s Classic at Weston Ranch High, Thiara did a little bit of everything.
Back-to-back assists to from Thiara (12) to Victor Elijah underneath gave the Timberwolves (3-2) a 55-54 lead with 4:30 left in the game. With 3:06 left, Thiara drew a player-control foul on a screen, he got blocks with 2:30 and 1:42 remaining and a huge offensive rebound with 30 seconds left, the result of which was two free throws by Jamille Grady (10 points) for a 61-60 lead with 32.2 second showing on the clock.
Following a rebound Thiara iced the game with a pair of free throws for the final score of 63-60 with 17.9 seconds left.
“In every game it’s all about making plays,” Thiara said. “I’m just trying to let the game come to me.”
Elijah led Sierra with 19 points.
“I just tried to get open and my teammate found me,” Elijah said of the back-to-back assists from Thiara. “And I just did what I usually do and try to finish every pass I get.”
Timberwolves coach Scott Thomason was pleased that Sierra was able to work the ball inside.
“We were finally a little aggressive getting to the paint,” Thomason said. “We bounced it to our post guy and finished a couple of easy layups. I like the way we held our composure at the end.
“Still we had a little too many turnovers for us. We were floating passes and we have to take care of the ball. I am proud of our effort.”
The tournament has not been kind to Sierra
“We had a tough double-overtime game to start the tournament,” Thomason said. “We lost our best player (Jaime Ochoa) for the season the first night and Thursday we played absolutely terrible basketball – it was almost like a hangover from the night before.
“I am proud of our guys and the way they came back against a good Edison team. That showed a lot of heart. We made plays.”
Wesley Bookman of the Vikings led all scorers with 22 points.
The Timberwolves look to even their tournament record this morning at 10 against Franklin of Stockton at Weston Ranch.
Weston Ranch 55
One night after falling in a second-round contest 67-60 to Beyer of Modesto, the Cougars came out on the wrong end again of a close contest on Friday at Edison High.
“This was back-to-back nights with back-to-back tough losses,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “They were tough losses but we were very competitive and a lot closer than I anticipated.
“Our guys are showing me a lot early. We had a chance to tie or take the lead in the last minute of both games against teams that are going to win 22-25 games this year. I have a freshman at point guard, a sophomore as my leading scorer and a junior as my next leading scorer – so we are young.”
Miloni Massey led the Cougars with 16 points. Raul Melgarejo added 15 points and Gavin Wilburn 10.
Weston Ranch faces Cordova today at 11:30 a.m. for seventh place at Edison.
Ripon Christian 64,
Bear Creek 49
JACKSON – The Knights continued to tear through their non-league schedule in semifinal action of the Argonaut QB Club Tournament, running their record to 6-0.
Ripon Christian ran its lead to 35-17 at halftime before coasting to the win.
“Bear Creek pressed us the whole game,” Knights coach Mark Hofman said. “So it was high pressure the whole way with a lot of quick shots.”
Andrew Vander Weide led Ripon Christian with 17 points. Ty Beidleman and Fletcher Jackson chipped in 12 points apiece.
The Knights face tournament host Argonaut on the championship at 4 p.m. today.
Ripon 62, Grace Davis 37
TURLOCK – The Spartans of Modesto (0-4) managed just seven first-quarter points to 29 for the Indians in the 40th Annual Frank Godinez Memorial Tournament.
Cole Stevens (six assists, three rebounds, two steals) led Ripon with 17 points in the consolation semifinal contest and Aaron Paschini added 14 with all Indians players seeing the floor. James Gaalswyk and Kyle Sisk had eight rebounds apiece for the Indians and Anthony Sisk had six.
Ripon faces tournament host Turlock today at 3 p.m. for the consolation championship.