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Timberwolves overcome hot-shooting Flames
Sierra center Will Ward takes it strong to the hoop as Lodis Grant Hennecke tries to change the shot. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Sierra High won a wild shootout Thursday against highly-touted Lodi.

“I’m sure people in the stands enjoyed watching this game,” said Timberwolves coach Scott Thomason after his boys basketball team notched the 89-73 non-league victory.

Lodi (6-2) beat Weston Ranch, Sierra’s chief rival in the Valley Oak League, en route to capturing the McDonald’s Classic title at Edison a few weeks ago.

“Lodi is a good team,” Thomason added. “But we wanted to impose our will.”

In doing so, Sierra (7-2) had to withstand a flurry of 3s from the sharp-shooting Flames, who also wreaked havoc with their full-court press.

But when they eluded Lodi’s swarming defense, the Timberwolves came up with the easy baskets on the other end.

“We knew (the Flames) were going to press,” said Sierra’s 6-foot-3 senior forward Justin Patton, who was the recipient of the open cross-court pass from his teammates. “But we were focused. We knew what to do.”

He tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

In a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter, Patton, Guillermo Nunez and Emmanuel Elijah helped the Timberwolves on the 12-4 run. Prior to that, Lodi, which led briefly in the opening period, fell behind by as much as 21 points, but pulled to within striking distance of the lead, 67-60.

“Guillermo’s (3-point) basket was big,” Thomason said.

Nunez finished with a team-high 24. Will Ward put together another solid game, managing 12 points and 12 boards. Joseph Berry and Elijah chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Jordan Belasco led Lodi with a game-high 26 points. He drove the lane for points and hit the occasional trey.

The Flames connected on a dozen 3s throughout the game, including seven in the third period. Belasco, Andres Silva, Brandon Michelucci and Drew Schopp were deadly from beyond the arc.

Sierra countered with Nunez, Berry, and Tim Thornton also finding the range from outside.

The second quarter proved big for the Timberwolves, who outscored Lodi, 25-11. Nunez hit a pair of 3s and Ward netted six points from the low post.

Sierra entered the break, leading 45-29.

“We did a lot of good things today,” said Thomason. “I also saw things that we still need to work on.”


Lodi 69, Sierra 66

The Timberwolves rallied from a large fourth-quarter deficit, tying the non-league game at 64-64 in the final two minutes.

But the Flames scored five unanswered points and held on for the win.

For Sierra, Carlos Quintanilla scored nine of his game-high 26 points in the final period. Bryson Sanders had 14 and Devin Nunez finished with nine.


Sierra 60, Lodi 40

Jordan Thompson, Josh Patton and Jacob Gallagher helped spark the Timberwolves to a non-league win over the Flames.

Thompson netted 19 and Patton chipped in with 15. Gallagher hit for 14.

Sierra (5-0) will play Wednesday in the Manteca High tournament, opening with West High.