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Defense keys T’wolves win at tournament
Kendrick Currey drives between Buchanan’s Kendall Oliver (left) and Chase Jennings. - photo by DAVE CAMBPELL The Bulletin

STOCKTON – Sierra made a statement early Saturday and did not let up with a balanced attack in a 67-48 win over Buchanan of Clovis for the championship of the 5th Annual Lincoln Trojan Christmas Classic at Lincoln High.

 “I loved our purpose, I loved our energy,” Timberwolves coach Scott Thomason said. “We played as a team today. I knew the guys were ready this morning in our shoot around and walk through. We played outstanding defense, but we had some careless turnovers in the second half. We gave up some buckets on out-of-bounds plays and I didn’t like that, so we have a few things to clean up.

 “Overall we just had great purpose. Kendrick Currey handled the ball well and he handled pressure. Jaedon Malone was a force inside blocking shots and getting rebounds. There is all this talk about all the points being scored. I think it’s great that we hold teams to the 20s, 30s and 40s. I think that’s beautiful basketball.”    

 Sierra (11-2) exploded for a 24-13 first-quarter lead with all-tournament selection Eduardo Jasso posting seven of his team-high 15 points in the period. 

 “We have been putting all this hard work in,” Jasso said. “We played three hard games this weekend and we came out and showed people what we were about.”

 Currey earned the MVP award and flirted with a double-double, scoring 11 points with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals. 

 “We played for all 32 minutes of this game,” Currey said. “We knew this was going to be a tough tournament. 

 “We had to come out and make up for not making playoffs last year.”

 The Timberwolves won the battle of the boards 37-26 with Malone (10 points) leading the charge with 10 rebounds. All-tournament selectee Zachariah Curry added 11 points and in limited duty due to foul trouble John Elijah chipped in nine points. 

 The Bears outscored Sierra 15-9 in the second quarter to come within 33-28 at halftime only for the Timberwolves to explode on a 19-4 run to start the third period. Curry and John Elijah (nine points) each scored four points during that run while Ryan Borgeson drained one of his two 3-pointers. 

 Sierra hosts McNair in its final pre-league contest Saturday afternoon at 2 before beginning league play Wednesday, Jan. 2, on the road against Kimball of Tracy at 7 p.m.