With each Sierra High run, defensive miscues enabled Tokay to find itself back to within a couple possessions. For Sierra’s final run late in the fourth the Tigers would have no answer, succumbing to the final burst in a 63-52 loss Friday.
Sierra never trailed in the contest, opening on a 12-5 run and establishing control from the first tip. Sierra immediately went inside to Will Ward for its first two baskets, setting the table for knock-down perimeter looks for Joseph Berry.
The Timberwolves (5-2) maintained control, entering halftime with a comfortable 34-26 lead. Tokay would stay in reach, falling back by as many as 13 (46-33 third period) and put together its most impressive run in the fourth. The Tigers blew a wide-open layup that would have cut Sierra’s lead to three and Sierra would score 10 of the next 11 points.
“We had a lot of breakdowns defensively today,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said. “Give Tokay a lot of credit, they had some good guards that played well – No. 3 (Trevor Mabalon) is a good player. We knew he was the scorer and he was a top priority; we tried to deny him the whole game and we just didn’t do a good job of it.”
Mabalon finished with 19, 12 of which came in the first half. The role he played for the Tigers, Sierra’s Guiilermo Nunez assumed in the game’s final period. Nunes took over the decisive period, scoring Sierra’s first basket of the fourth and the team’s final three.
“He makes plays,” Thomason said of Nunez. “He takes over the game with his ball handling, with his attacking of the basket; he gets hands on balls defensively, he got a couple big rebounds.
“He really played well for us in the second half.”
The Timberwolves also got clutch play from Berry, who finished with 15 points including four 3-pointers. Ward had his customary sound game, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Emmanuel Elijah made the fourth Timberwolf in double figures, finishing with 13 points including a team-high 11 first half.
Tokay 36, Sierra 35
Sierra saw its last-chance 3-point shot come up short at the buzzer Friday in a one-point loss to Tokay.
Jonnythan Munkholm and Carlos Quintanilla led the team with eight points, and Devin Nunez chipped in seven.
Sierra 49, Tokay 27
Josh Patton paced Sierra (3-0) with 16 points, while teammates Jordan Thompson and Hunter Johnson chipped in with seven and six, respectively.