Friday night's battle of the city's burly centers, Beyer's 6-foot-5-inch Bryan Garbez and Modesto's 6-8 Matt Vermeulen, was overshadowed by a thin forward.
With Garbez and Vermeulen fighting foul trouble as much as each other, 6-6 Josh Jones took advantage of openings inside to score 18 points, grab eight rebounds and lead Modesto to a 54-50 Central California Conference victory.
Jones, a senior playing his first season with Modesto (6-6, 2-0), rallied his team from a 33-29 third-quarter deficit. His back-to-back jumpers gave Modesto a 44-38 lead in the third, then his two free throws made it 51-43 with 2:10 left.
Most of Jones' damage came when he was working from the high post or on the edge of the key, taking a pass and quickly turning to the basket. He then jumped over or drove past a defender.
"Matt's a big guy and he's pretty physical inside, so we use my quickness out on the high post," said Jones, a transfer from Michigan. "I'm quicker than big centers and taller than most forwards."
Jones' smooth shooting -- he hit five of his last six shots and four of five free throws -- surprised Beyer (5-8, 0-2).
"When (Vermeulen) got in foul trouble, I told Bryan to make the big kid work for the ball and make him beat us," Beyer coach Mike VanderMolen said. "He was a big surprise. I didn't realize how good an offensive player he was."
Garbez (10 points, four rebounds) was held to six shots before fouling out with 4:02 left, but Beyer rallied without him.
Dom Rossi had two late treys, cutting Modesto's lead to 53-50 with 55 seconds left. Beyer had a chance to tie, but turned it over with seven seconds left.
"Keeping it a one-possession game, without Bryan showed we were going hard to the end," VanderMolen said.
Vermeulen (three points, two rebounds) was dogged by fouls early, but guard Nate Jackson (12 points) and forward Daniel McClellan (10 points, seven rebounds) picked up the slack.
"When Matt got in foul trouble, we all realized we needed to give it something extra to get the win," Jones said.