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.
Valley Oak League
"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.
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.
"(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."
Escalon's James Harrison (13 points) went inside for most of his scoring, but the Cougars' offense struggled beyond his play.
Mother Lode League
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.