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Supporting cast falls flat in TWolves loss
Williams drops 35 points in final game
Christian Williams raises for a shot over double coverage. The Rams double and triple-teamed Williams all night. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin
It didn’t take long for St. Mary’s to realize that Sierra was a one-man show Wednesday night in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
By the time the second half started, Christian Williams couldn’t touch the basketball with at least two defenders in his face, and played most of the final 16 minutes triple-teamed.
Although Williams battled through the extra attention and somehow finished with a game-high 35 points and 11 rebounds, the rest of the Timberwolves managed just two field goals and seven total points in a disappointing 53-42 loss.
Beyond the shooting woes – Sierra was good on just 13 field goals throughout – the T’Wolves turned the ball over 25 times, got a total of two points from its starting post rotation and just five from the four starters not named Williams.
Serge Veretennikov (0 points), Trevor Nogueira (2 points) and Chris Choate (1 point) all fouled out before the final two minutes of the fourth.
“When all of your post guys combine for (two points), it’s tough,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said. “We couldn’t get anything from Trevor Nogueira. We turned the ball over 25 times.
“Obviously, I thought we’d play better basketball.”
Williams scored all nine of Sierra’s first-quarter points on three 3-pointers, two of the pull-up variety.
By halftime, Williams had scored 13 of Sierra’s 15 points, and the T’Wolves were down just three mostly because the Rams struggled from the floor as well.
But after the break, St. Mary’s started hitting with regularity and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Williams on the defensive end.
“(Williams) was incredible,” St. Mary’s head coach Ken Green said. “He was just feeling it. We were running a couple of guys at him, it didn’t matter; he was in the zone. He’s a great player.
“We feel fortunate to come out of here with a win.”
When asked about the attention St. Mary’s gave to Williams, Thomason wasn’t surprised.
“Three guys on him. Two guys. Hand-checking him,” he said. “We’ve seen it all year. (St. Mary’s does) a good job.
“But like I said, the other guys should be foaming at the mouth; they’re going to get a lot of open shots. Playing with Christian, they should be ready to go. But that was non-existent tonight.”
Down five at 25-20, Veretennikov was tagged with his fourth personal at the 2:24 mark of the third and promptly took a seat.
St. Mary’s finished the quarter on an 8-2 run to make it 33-22 heading into the fourth.
A minute and a half later, Kyle Calder’s trey from the left elbow made it 41-24 and St. Mary’s was well on its way.
Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers – both with six hands in his face – down the stretch, but the damage had been done.
“We played one of our better basketball games,” Green said. “I just like our scrappiness. We were in the passing lanes. We were doing a great job of helping each other. We just made enough plays offensively to win.”
Josh Harper paced the Rams with 17.
Mark Solorio added 12.
 “I’m proud of the kids, it was a great season. There’s nothing for them to hold their heads down about,” Thomason said. “In life and in sports, you get what you deserve, good or bad. Obviously we didn’t deserve to move past the first round.”