Sierra’s boys basketball squad made its fourth trip to Sonora in seven days Tuesday, and the Timberwolves returned home with their 10th straight victory.
Sparked by the perimeter play of Guillermo Nunez and reserve Tim Thornton, Sierra got past Sonora High 60-46 in the Valley Oak League opener for both teams. Sierra was coming off last week’s championship run in the Fuchs Memorial Holiday Classic held at nearby Columbia College, where the red-hot Timberwolves (1-0, 11-2) downed Sonora 51-24 in the title game last Friday.
Sierra coach Scott Thomason expected to see a different Sonora team Tuesday and got just that. The Wildcats (0-1, 7-5) were still in it heading into the fourth quarter down, 38-34.
Nunez rattled in two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and was aided by two tip-in layups from center Will Ward (12 points), who was otherwise bottled up by Sonora’s zone defense anchored by 6-foot-6 Ben Bates, 6-6 Mark Relei and 6-8 Tayler Thompson.
Sierra also knocked down 11 of its last 12 free throws in the final quarter.
“They zoned us the whole game, which they didn’t do on Friday, and they started a different lineup,” Thomason said. “Give Sonora a lot of credit, they played hard. We’re just happy to get the win, because that’s always a tough place to play.”
Thompson led all players with 18 points, while Bates added 11 for Sonora. Sierra was paced by Thornton’s 16 and Nunez’s 15, and they each buried three 3-pointers. Ward, the MVP of the Fuchs Classic, finished with 12.
“(Thornton’s play) was big,” Thomason said. “With Sonora sitting in that zone that just opened things up for us outside, and he has been shooting the ball with confidence. It’s always nice when we can have that kind of production off the bench. We have good depth and know that it can be a different guy coming through every night.”
Weston Ranch 81, Oakdale 51
The defending VOL champion Cougars (1-0, 8-4) were ahead 32-25 at halftime before blowing it open with 25 points in the third and 24 more in the fourth.
Dylan Alexander burned visiting Oakdale (0-1, 5-7) for 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He and Andre Beard (13 points, six rebounds) were instrumental in the third, when they combined for 19 points.
Daiveon Leverett added 12 points and nine boards, and Zerrion Payton finished with 10 points. Center Justin Martinez poured in 20 points for the Mustangs.
Kimball 60, Manteca 49
In Tracy, the Buffaloes (0-1, 7-7) trailed by one after three quarters but were outscored 21-11 in the fourth.
“We had opportunities to win the game, we just didn’t execute,” Manteca coach Dave Asuncion said.
Manteca got decent production from its three sophomores, with Nick Obazuaye leading the charge with 14 points. Austin Haro contributed 10 points, and Stephen Ruble had eight. Senior Ben Odell chimed in with 12.
Kimball (1-0, 8-6) was paced by Evan Owens and Joe Walls with 10 apiece.
Sonora 41, Sierra 39
Jonnythan Munkholm turned in 11 points, while Carlos Quintanilla and Bryson Sanders chipped in eight apiece in a losing effort for the Timberwolves.
Manteca 53, Kimball 29
Marcus Montano’s 16 points led the Buffaloes to their fifth straight win to start the season. Keyshawn Shackleford pitched in nine points, and Greg Boone had eight.