By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ward outduels 6-9 Fenton as Sierra rolls into finals
Sierra standout Will Ward gets tangled up in a nonleague game at Ripon High Dec. 14. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Sierra has done some of its best work against top teams so far, and Thursday was no different.

In the semifinal round of the Robert Dominic Fuchs Classic, 6-foot-5 center Will Ward and the Timberwolves got the better of 6-9 John Fenton and Central Catholic, 59-36.

Sierra (9-2) meets Valley Oak League rival Sonora for the championship today at Columbia College in Sonora. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. Sierra just so happens to open its conference schedule next Tuesday at Sonora.

Thursday’s battle was a showcase of two of the region’s top low-post players. Ward led the way with 22 points and got Fenton — who scored two of his nine points in the first half — in early foul trouble.

“It was a tough matchup against a 6-9 kid who is a pretty good player,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “Will was aggressive and really got after him.”

Sierra took a 24-17 advantage into halftime and didn’t let up from there, outscoring the Raiders (11-3) of Modesto 17-10 and 18-9 in each of the final two quarters. Emmanuel Elijah was instrumental in sparking Sierra’s pressure defense in the second half.

Guillermo Nunez — who was named MVP after leading Sierra to the tournament title as a sophomore last year — pitched in with 12 points and made eight of nine free throws.

Sierra is riding an eight-game winning streak that includes impressive wins over Golden Valley (9-3) and Lodi (9-2).

“The kids do a good job of taking it one game at a time — it’s really all we focus on,” Thomason said. “We’re just trying to get better every day and we’ll play whoever they tell us to play. Hopefully we’re bringing home a trophy tomorrow.”

Bruin Shootout

East Union 59, Stagg 35

Brandon Cline pumped in 10 of his 13 points in the second half to lead the Lancers (7-4), who outscored Stagg (2-11) 14-4 in the second quarter and 22-8 in the third to break it open.

“Our offense was not bad, we were just missing a lot of great looks,” said East Union coach Brett Lewis. “But our defense was there the entire game.”

East Union tangles with Hayward for the consolation title today at 4:30.

Oakdale Rotary Classic

Chavez 56, Ripon Christian 48

The Knights (7-4) had their way in the post with 6-foot-5 twins Jared and Jordan Goslinga scoring 17 and 13 points, respectively, but they struggled to keep up with Chavez’s superior team speed.

Chavez (8-6) trailed 17-12 after the first but came alive with an 18-5 run in the second thanks to its full-court press defense. Deshaun Perkins finished with 14 points to pace the Titans.

Ripon Christian takes on either Southern League foe Denair or Hughson in the seventh-place game today.


Beyer 55, Lathrop 54

Lathrop had 1.3 seconds to get off the potential game-winning shot off an inbounds pass, and Joseph Sausau’s open attempt rimmed out.

Sausau finished with 14 points for the Spartans (6-5), who had won five of six going in. Andrew Kovanis added 11 points; all scored in the second half.

Beyer (6-9) was led by Zach Porterfield’s 15 points and 13 more from Anthony Vargas. The Patriots capitalized on a technical foul called on a Lathrop player early in the fourth quarter, stretching a one-point lead out to seven.

Lathrop closes out nonleague action against Ceres at noon today at Columbia College.