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Twolves hold off Chavez in McDonalds Classic
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Sierra's Emmanuel Elijah puts the presure on Chavez's Eddie Nelson in the second half during Thrusday's game at San Joaquin Delta College's Ernie Marcopulos Gym in Stockton. - photo by HIME ROMERO

STOCKTON – Sierra High still has a ways to go, but the Timberwolves seem to be heading in the right direction, fending off a solid Chavez High squad 57-49 in day two of The McDonald’s Classic hosted by Edison High in Stockton.

The Timberwolves built what looked to be a comfortable 33-20 halftime lead only to see Chavez come back in a hurry. The Titans scored the first six points in the second half and outscored Sierra 16-7 in the third.

The run trimmed Sierra’s lead to a bucket and got the Timberwolves’ attention for the final period. Sierra responded by getting big baskets from Jonnythan Munkholm and Justin Patton (15 points, 7 rebounds)  to re-pad the lead. Guillermo Nunez (18 points) would drain a 3-pointer with 2:50 remaining to practically sealed the deal.

“We’re not playing good basketball right now,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said. “And for us to find a way to win when we’re not playing very good is a good sign.

“We just want to start playing good basketball.”

The Timberwolves showed glimpses of what they hope to be, starting the contest with a 17 point first quarter and points from four different players. Emmanuel Elijah had the hot hand first, dropping 10 points in the first hand and lifting Sierra to its lead.

Munkholm also had early input with a barrage of quality post moves down low, scoring in each quarter and finishing in double-figures with 14 and seven boards.

“It was important for me to have a good game,” Munkholm said. “I think it was important that I stepped up because before this I was not having good games and it was affecting the team in a bad way.

“It’s all about coming together and that means all of us have to play well.”

Sierra got through a formidable opponent in Chavez. The Titans, led by Eddie Nelson’s 15 points, found their way back into the contest with a successful press and patient trips on offense. Yet, even with the quality effort Chavez put forth Sierra never trailed in the contest after the opening minutes.

“Our mindset was to try and get some pressure on the floor and see if we could get them out of their rhythm,” Chavez head coach Mack Harris said. “Which we did, but I thought at the end we made a couple mistakes that hurt us. Sierra is a good team that is well coached and went really far last year, so I am proud of our kids’ effort.”