Downey High, fresh off its surprising championship at the Dominik Fuchs Holiday Tournament in Sonora, opened the Modesto Metro Conference on Wednesday with an impressive 66-43 win at Beyer.
Downey (7-4, 1-0) led by four at halftime, but began playing aggressive defense in the third quarter to spark a 25-11 run and pull away from the Patriots (6-7, 0-1).
The defense created a number of steals, and the Knights converted them into layups and got Beyer in foul trouble.
Nick O'Brien and Joe Hardee each scored 14 points to lead the balanced Knights, who had five players with seven points or more. Beyer's big man, 6-foot-5-inch center Bryan Garbez, had 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field, but the Knights' quickness prevented his teammates from playing much of a role.
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Valley Oak League
SIERRA 45, CENTRAL VALLEY 35, at Ceres -- The Timberwolves (11-2, 1-0), The Bee's top-ranked large school, used their three-headed defensive monster of Scott Karas, Nevin Sahota and Eddie Morales to shut down 3-point shooter Trevor Mew to beat the Hawks (6-9, 0-1).
"We wanted to limit the number of times (Mew) got the ball, and then to make sure every shot he took was going to be a difficult one," Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. "We wanted to make it a 4-on-4 type of game."
With Mew under wraps, Sierra led 20-10 at halftime and 40-20 in the fourth quarter. Guard Christian Williams scored 18 points, penetrating for layups and short jumpers in the key, and putting back in a few missed shots.
"When Christian's attacking, he's pretty darned good," Thomason said.
MANTECA 52, SONORA 40, at Manteca -- Nick Scheible (17 points, seven rebounds) and Kiwi Gardner (13 points, four steals) combined for 30 points and the Buffaloes (5-9, 1-0) held the Wildcats (7-7, 0-1) to four fourth-quarter points.
Taylor Thrift (14 points) helped keep Sonora in the game through three quarters, as the Buffaloes were clinging to a 38-36 lead going into the final period.
EAST UNION 47, OAKDALE 45, at Oakdale -- Garrett Jones (14 points) hit a 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining, then the Lancers (6-8, 1-0) held their breath as the Mustangs (6-9, 0-1) missed their final shot with 5 seconds remaining. Oakdale led 32-30 going into the fourth quarter, as Jon Miller (14 points) provided much of the offense in a game marked by its deliberate tempo.
WESTON RANCH 80, CERES 51, at Lathrop -- James Nunnally had 22 points and four steals, as the Cougars (9-5, 1-0) roared past the Bulldogs (7-6, 0-1). Weston Ranch, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II runner-up last year, led 44-23 at halftime and more than offset a 30-point performance by Ceres' Brett Sayad.
"(We) came out of the Modesto Christian tournament not clicking at all," said Cougars coach Bill Slicker, whose club lost three of its last four. "It was interesting to see what would happen on opening night (of the VOL). (We) ended up running on all cylinders."
HUGHSON 60, RIVERBANK 30, at Hughson -- Coming off their title in the Oakdale Rotary Holiday Classic, the Huskies (10-1, 1-0) opened a 14-3 lead over the Bruins (4-10, 0-1). Zach Adams made two of Hughson's six 3-pointers and led 11 Hughson scorers with 10 points.
RIPON 51, ESCALON 37, at Ripon -- Efren Sifuentes scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, helping the Indians (6-7, 1-0) to a 26-14 lead over the Cougars (3-10, 0-1). Escalon had no answer for Sifuentes in the first quarter, as the forward scored all 10 of Ripon's points for a 10-2 lead.
Escalon's James Harrison (13 points) went inside for most of his scoring, but the Cougars' offense struggled beyond his play.
Mother Lode League
SUMMERVILLE 54, CALAVERAS 45 (OT), at San Andreas -- The Bears (9-3, 1-0) erased a four-point lead in the final 20 seconds of regulation, then outscored the Redskins (5-7, 0-1) 9-0 in overtime. Summerville converted a turnover into a layup, and after Calaveras missed a free throw, the Bears hit a shot at the regulation buzzer. They were 6 for 7 from the free-throw line in overtime. Dalton Lyons and Bret Watson scored 17 points each for Summerville. Calaveras made 11 3-pointers and was 0 for 2 from the line. Andrew Graves made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points.
ARGONAUT 62, BRET HARTE 55, at Angels Camp -- The Mustangs (10-3, 1-0) recovered from a slow start, outscoring the Bullfrogs (8-4, 0-1) 15-8 in the second quarter to go up 29-23. Evan Layher (14 points) and Steve D'Angelic (13) led the rally.
Bret Harte stayed close through the second half, but Russell Riner (13 points) and Ben Morin (12) were unable to get the Bullfrogs over the top.
TURLOCK 53, PITMAN 19, at Pitman -- Brandon Eagleston at 103 pounds, Fabian Garcia at 119 and Michael Jackson at 125 registered first-round pins to help the Bulldogs (2-0 Central California Conference) defeat the Pride (1-1). Turlock freshman Robert Vasquez lost to Vincent Perez 11-2 at 112. Perez was eighth in the state last season. At 160, Pitman's Cesar Padilla, also a state qualifier, edged Michael Baxter 7-5.