RIPON — Christian Williams splashed down the last of his five 3-pointers from the top of the arc a minute and a half into the fourth quarter and was fouled in the process.
It was that kind of night for Sierra’s High’s budding star guard, as he heated up early, caught fire and torched the host Indians to the tune of 34 points in the 64-52 non-league victory.
And he could have had more.
“I missed a couple of gimmies and I was trying to find my teammates,” said Williams, who also grabbed eight rebounds.
It was the third straight 30-plus effort for Williams, and he scored in many ways and from different angles.
His feathery touch from mid-range was automatic. He used his athleticism and ball-handling skills to get to the hoop. He worked off screens for easy layups or wide-open jumpers.
Williams’ nifty drive into the paint for two points with 4:19 left pushed Sierra’s fourth-quarter lead to 62-46 — its largest of the game.
No matter what Ripon (3-5) did to try and slow him down, Williams got his shot off and rarely missed.
“Our goal was to stay on him and keep the ball away him,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “But he created a few plays to help others score, and he was banging those 3-pointers on top of people.
“Not much you can say but props, man.”
Williams scored 13 to help give the Timberwolves (3-3) an 18-8 advantage going into the second quarter, but Ripon managed to stick around all game with its best player, Efren Sifuentes, still out with a hamstring injury.
Wright said that Sifuentes won’t be available until the start of the Trans Valley League season.
Ryan Baker had eight of his team-high 14 points in the third quarter, and his 3-pointer closed the Indians in 45-37 with 2:10 remaining. That was the last time Ripon trailed by single digits.
Center Ryan Alexander chipped in 13 points, and Matt Ratto had 10. Serge Veretennikov turned in eight points, nine rebounds and four assists for Sierra.
“We had our opportunities,” Wright said. “We missed a lot of (layups) and we were 13 of 17 from the free-throw line.
“If we could have gone our normal 65 to 70 percent (on free throws) it changes the dimensions of the game.”
Sierra coach Scott Thomason had his own reasons to be displeased. There were several occasions when the T’Wolves seemed poised to break it open, but lapses in executing the offense and defensive rebounding kept that from happening.
“We just have moments where we have a hard time sustaining our effort,” Thomason said. “We have a hard time playing for 32 minutes.
“We get in phases where we turn the ball over two or three possessions in a row, so we have to clean that up.”
Manteca 81, Franklin 46
At West High, the Buffaloes (8-1) opened up the 16-team tournament with another 80-plus-point effort — the fourth in their last five.
Nick Scheible pumped in 17 points, Kiwi Gardner dropped 14 of his 16 in the first half and LaRon Bennett contributed 11. Ten of Manteca’s 12 players contributed points.
Manteca expects stiffer competition from Golden Valley (7-1) of Merced tonight at 6.
At Tracy High’s Swenson Gym, the Cougars (3-4) struggled to maintain possession of the ball as evidenced by their 30 turnovers.
Weston Ranch’s loss guarantees that the tournament will crown a new champion, as the Cougars claimed the last two. Weston Ranch opens consolation play at 3 today against Chavez of Stockton.
“We left 60 points on the floor,” said Weston Ranch coach Ryan Bono. “We weren’t playing aggressive. We made six of 10 free throws, and they were 23-for-27.”
Ronnie Collins led the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Nate Moises chipped in 10 points and six boards; and Derrick Sykes finished with eight and seven.