SALIDA -- It was a typical Modesto Christian High boys basketball game, one with all the requisite dunks, behind-the-back passes and spectacular plays.
But one of those Crusaders making plays in their first home game of the season was a new face, that of senior transfer D.J. Seeley.
Seeley heated up after a slow first half, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter, including one resounding breakaway dunk. Reeves Nelson, a junior forward, was unstoppable inside with 25 points as Modesto Christian rolled past Van Nuys 98-63 and into the quarterfinals of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Wednesday night.
The Crusaders (4-2) play Monte Vista of Danville, a 60-35 winner over Pitman, in a quarterfinal today at 8:30 p.m.
A capacity crowd filled Modesto Christian's gym, many of them to watch Seeley, who transferred in from Tokay High of Lodi. He sat the season's first 30 days, becoming eligible to play on Wednesday. The 6-foot-3 guard has already committed to the University of California.
"It felt good to be out there and playing competitive basketball," said Seeley, who came off the bench with five minutes left in the first quarter. "I got the jitters out early and started feeling good in the third quarter."
After a 24-24 first quarter, the Crusaders scored 23 of the next 30 points for a 47-21 halftime lead. Nelson scored 12 points, including two dunks on inside moves. When the 6-7 forward got the ball inside, he either scored or was fouled.
The second half was an MC highlight show, with Seeley throwing an alley-oop pass to Nelson for a lay-in, several behind-the-back passes and Seeley's big dunk. Adam Watts added 14 points for MC, while Daniel Lemburg scored 11.
"I was too excited early," Seeley said. "But once I relaxed, I started making shots."
MC will have its hands full with Monte Vista, a more physical team than Van Nuys.
"They're big and strong," MC coach Gary Porter said. "They'll try to pound it inside.
"The eight teams in the (quarterfinals), any one of them can win it. That's why we do this tournament, this strong field is only going to make us better."
SKYLINE-OAKLAND 77, MERCED 70 -- The Bears trailed by double digits for most of the game, but rallied to within six with a minute left before falling to the Titans. Jarrett Sparks scored 26 points to lead Merced, while teammate Allen Huddleston added 23. Kwame Vaughn, a 6-3 senior swingman, led Skyline with 25 points.
MONTE VISTA-DANVILLE 60, PITMAN 35 -- The Pride fell behind 13-4 after the first quarter and 26-12 at the half and never got its offense going in the loss. Pitman's Austin Keaton scored seven points, but he fouled out late in the third quarter.
Andre Mattson and Juan Flores each added six points for Pitman. Six-foot-7 senior Cameron Fenely led the Mustangs with 14 points.
Efren Sifuentes, a transfer from Modesto Christian, led Ripon with 12 points. Teammate Ryan Baker added 11.
UC Santa Barbara-bound forward James Nunnally scored 23 points for Weston Ranch. Jerry Brown scored 29 points and Teandre Hubbard had 19 for Sacred Heart Cathedral.