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Sierra makes easy work of dangerous Kimball
Twolves open game with 17 unanswered points
Sierra High center Will Ward stays in control while getting his shot off in traffic against visiting Kimball of Tracy Friday. For additional photos, visit - photo by CHRIS LEONARD
Kimball High already has itself a boys basketball team to be reckoned with, and that’s without a senior class.

The Jaguars opened the Valley Oak League season with losses to two-time defending champion Manteca, Oakdale and East Union — by a combined 12 points.

“They could have easily been 3-0,” said Scott Thomason, the head coach of Kimball’s opponent on Friday.

Thomason’s host Sierra squad treated the first-year varsity team out of Tracy like an established powerhouse at the outset and was rewarded for its show of respect, as it poured in the game’s first 17 points en route to winning, 67-44.

Kimball (0-4, 7-10 overall) didn’t score until reserve center Dilrat Singh sank one of two free-throw attempts at the 1:56 mark of the first period. Sierra (4-0, 13-3) led 22-3 going into the second.

“You look at their record and see they lost a few games, but a lot of them were by just a few points against some quality teams,” said Sierra center Will Ward. “We knew we could not underestimate them. They have a pretty good team for a new program.”

Ward was one of three Timberwolves to score 12 points in limited action, and he also paced the team with eight rebounds. Frontcourt mate Jerrod Patton and sophomore guard Guillermo Nunez were the others with 12.

Edy Guzman did a little bit of everything, pumping in eight points to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Sierra (4-0, 13-3 overall) staggered Kimball early, scoring in a variety of ways while dominating the boards and forcing the Jaguars to take bad shots on the defensive end.

“I think their coach does a good job and they have some athletes — they’re going to be good,” Thomason said. “They’re definitely going to beat some teams, hopefully it’s not us.

“Getting off to that start and delivering the first blow was good to see. In the first half we played some really good basketball.”

Not so much in the second half.

Thomason, a coach who does not believe in “garbage time” and expects every player on the team to perform at a high level, was displeased with the effort in the final two quarters.

Sierra was limited to two free throws over the final 5 minutes, 15 seconds of the third quarter, which Kimball closed out on a 9-0 run to make it 50-26. Those free throws, buried by Nunez, gave Sierra its largest lead at 50-17 with 3:52 remaining.

“At halftime we talked about not getting sloppy and playing for 32 minutes,” Thomason said. “I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to keep guys in front of us (defensively), and I’m disappointed with how sloppy we got with the turnovers.

“We have to understand that we have to sustain our effort for 32 minutes.”

One bright spot throughout was how the Timberwolves defended Kimball’s top scorer, Tyrell Brewer, an agile 5-foot-9 guard with a deadly shooting touch. Brewer was held to eight points — he averaged 14.8 going in. Shakeel Carpenter led Kimball with 11 points and four steals, and sophomore point guard Chandler Alves chipped in 10.

“We knew he’s a good player and that he can score,” Thomason said. “He’s a quick driver and has the ability to hit some outside shots. Our goal was to hold him to under 10 points and I was proud that our guys were able to do that.”

Sierra is three wins away from wrapping up the first half of league play undefeated with big games against Weston Ranch (Jan. 21) and Manteca (Jan. 26) on the horizon.

“We’re just worried about Lathrop (next Wednesday),” Thomason said. “That’s our next game, and we’re going to prepare like it’s a championship game for us and try to get better every day.”

To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3538.