MODESTO -- The Central Catholic High Raiders grind and pound and work over their opponents.
And their football team is pretty strong, too.
While the Raiders chase a Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 football title today against Escalon, the basketball team pursues a Modesto City Classic crown tonight. The Raiders scored their third straight double-digit win this week, a 62-52 semifinal decision over stubborn Turlock at Gregori High.
Central Catholic (3-0) will meet Grace Davis, which stopped Downey 61-55, in the title game tonight at 7:30 at Downey. The Raiders have not forgotten that they reached this game a year ago and lost to Golden Valley.
CC's posture this week is best illustrated by junior guard Donovin Townsend, who took off his basketball uniform Friday night and will replace it with shoulder pads and helmet today.
Townsend, instrumental in the Raiders' fast start against Turlock, feels the extra work is a win-win for him.
"It's getting me in better shape," he said. "This will help me to curve into basketball so I won't be so sluggish."
CIF rules allow Townsend to double-dip, as long as he doesn't compete in both sports on the same day. Meanwhile, his basketball teammates await six members of the football team who will join them later.
Central Catholic already is a load on the hardwood.
Its front line consists of 6-foot-9 John Fenton (20 points), the improved 6-5 junior Johnathan Boddie (17 points) and 6-6 Jake Bland. Turlock struggled most of the night with this trio.
"We've gotten him (Boddie) to slow down his footwork and his thought process," CC coach Mike Wilson said. "He's a difficult matchup for a lot of people."
Meanwhile, Fenton has gained 20 pounds through summer weight work with you guessed it the football team. He has supplemented his strength with a few new moves, including a nifty drop-step and left-hand finish.
"I'm working on a few things," he said.
Central Catholic spotted Turlock (3-1) a 4-1 lead, then dominated the glass. Boddie scored 11 points during the second period and the Raiders built a 37-22 halftime lead. The advantage grew to 24 points, though Turlock didn't back down late in the game.
The Bulldogs drained seven triples, two of them by shooting guard Dashawn Holcombe (14 points).
"I thought we were intimidated by their size the first one and a half quarters," Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said. "We figured out, 'What the heck. Let's get nasty.' I'm proud of them. They fought hard."
GREGORI 52, JOHANSEN 50 Dom Wash's basket from close range with a minute to play was the difference as two Modesto City Schools scrambled for their first win. The teams exchanged turnovers until Johansen's Chantz Sababiano front-rimmed a 25-footer at the buzzer.
Wash paced Gregori (1-3) with 14 points. Pablo Ochoa hit three triples for Johansen (0-5) en route to 11 points.
MERCED 53, LATHROP 39 Travante Richard's week-long head cold hasn't hurt him on the court. The 6-3 junior totaled 17 of his game-leading 20 points before halftime of the Bears' bounceback victory. He accounted for nine points during the Bears' 16-4 game-opening run.
BEYER 62, ENOCHS 60 (OT) Senior Zack Porterfield (21 points) put Beyer (2-1) ahead for good 61-59 with a pair of free throws with less than 2 minutes left.
Modesto City Classic
at Downey High
Championship: Central Catholic vs. Davis, 7:30 p.m.
Third Place: Turlock vs. Downey, 6 p.m.
Consolation Bracket9 a.m.: Johansen vs. LB
10:30 a.m.: Gregori vs. Modesto
Noon: Enochs vs. Manteca
1:30 p.m.: Lathrop vs. Atwater
3 p.m.:Merced vs. GV
4:30 p.m.: Beyer vs. Pitman
Semifinal: Grace Davis 61, Downey 55
Semifinal: Central Catholic 62, Turlock 52
Consolation BracketGregori 52, Johansen 50; Merced 53, Lathrop 39; Beyer 62, Enochs 60 (OT); Golden Valley 68, Atwater 47; Modesto 83, Los Banos 65; Pitman 51, Manteca 47