Sierra didn’t play its best half of basketball during Thursday’s Valley Oak League matchup against visiting Kimball of Tracy.
The Timberwolves (4-0 VOL, 11-5 overall) trailed by nine after the first quarter and went into the locker room facing a four-point deficit.
Sierra’s junior tandem of Hunter Johnson and Joshua Patton came alive in the second half, combining for 32 points that helped boost the T’Wolves to a 58-41 victory.
“When we got into the locker room, we just figured out what we had to do,” said Johnson, who finished with a game-high 25. “We came out sluggish and we needed to play harder.
“(Patton) was big and definitely helped us, but like I said it was a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without everyone on the court.”
Especially Patton, though, who tallied 17 of his 21 in the second half and hauled in 18 boards.
Sierra opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and turned a four-point deficit into a 26-22 advantage. Kimball was held scoreless for the first three minutes of the second half as momentum thoroughly swung.
Devin Nunez (five points) knocked down his only trey to make it a 29-23 ball game. Kimball’s Bryer Preet and Ali Habal (nine points) answered with a pair of third-quarter triples that kept the Jaguars within two possessions.
Sierra closed the fourth on a 24-11 run and 19 of those were from Patton and Johnson. That same duo tallied 32 of Sierra’s 40 second-half points. Nunez and Bryson Sanders (five points) tallied the only other points of the final quarter.
“(Patton) had a good game,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said. “He was relentless and active, and he was a force tonight.
“We want to establish our inside game. If they collapse, we get some open shots. Once they get back on our shooters, we go back inside. It’s all about balance.”
The Timberwolves were not only getting open shots in the second half, but they were converting as well.
“The difference was they started hitting outside shots,” Kimball head coach Joe Lawrence said. “We had to go out further (on defense), which opened up their big guys inside.
“(Sierra) is a good team. Scott does a great job with them. They turned up the defensive pressure on us in the second half a little bit.”
Kimball led 15-6 after the first quarter, which was highlighted by a 9-0 run that made it 12-3 early on and saw Johnson score all six of Sierra’s points in the stanza.
Kimball knocked down six 3s, while Sierra had an off-shooting night and only hit four.
The T’Wolves will visit cross-town rival Manteca on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at Winter Gym, followed by Lathrop at home next Friday.
Sierra 43, Kimball 35
Jess Spivey led the T’Wolves (2-2, 8-4) with 10 points and Ogun Delaney added nine. Brian Perrell and Tanner Peterson each chipped in seven, while Connor Hill led the Jaguars with 12.
Kimball 51, Sierra 39
The T’Wolves couldn’t come up with a win despite Jamille Grady (11) and Noah Ault (10) combining for 21 point and Parmvir Singh adding eight.