The points just keep coming for Merced High's backcourt duo of Allen Huddleston and Jarrett Sparks, who were averaging 46 points a game heading into Friday Central California Conference showdown with Turlock.
With a CCC title at stake, they outdid themselves, teaming up to score 56 points and lead the top-ranked large-school Bears to an 89-69 win over the third-ranked large-school Bulldogs.
That not only clinches a title for the Bears (18-7, 10-0), but it should lift them to No. 1 in the Sac-Joaquin Section power ratings following Wednesday's loss by current No. 1 Folsom. Merced is assured of a home playoff opener.
Huddleston (30 points) and Sparks (26 points) hit two treys apiece for Merced, helped the Bears to a 45-31 halftime lead.
Turlock's (17-8, 6-4) backcourt tandem of Travis Souza (20) and Efrem Harris (18) were unable to keep up. The Bulldogs are also headed to the playoffs, but need to finish with two wins to improve their shot at a home game.
Central California Conference
LOS BANOS 64, BUHACH COLONY 61, at Los Banos -- Andrae Jones had 16 points and Phil Etcheverry, Nick Gutierrez and Josh Bourbon 14 each as the Tigers (19-8, 7-4) defeated the Thunder (7-18, 1-9) and clinched a spot in the Division I playoffs. Etcheverry had four 3-pointers.
Los Banos took a 19-point lead into the final quarter, before the Thunder began to rally behind Hodari Peterson (14 points).
GOLDEN VALLEY 73, ATWATER 54, at Atwater -- John Sykes scored a career-high 37 points and Alex Fletcher added 16 as the Cougars (9-12, 4-6) rolled past the Falcons (5-19, 0-10).
Brian Cooksey, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore forward, led Atwater with 26 points.
Valley Oak League
WESTON RANCH 66, MANTECA 62, at Manteca -- With his team down by three, Kiwi Gardner of the Buffaloes (11-14, 7-5) had an open look and missed. Weston Ranch (20-5, 12-0) got the rebound, Manteca had to foul, and the Cougars made the first of two free throws to seal it.
Gardner, a freshman, had an excellent game with 21 points (three 3-pointers). James Nunnally scored 28 for Weston Ranch, which clinched at least a share of the league title.
The Cougars play second-place Sierra the last night of the season, but if Weston Ranch beats East Union Wednesday -- the finale will be played just for pride.
CERES 75, SONORA 53, at Ceres -- Brett Sayad had all 18 of his points in the first half in helping the Bulldogs (13-12, 6-6 ) defeat the Wildcats (12-13, 5-7). Brenden Evans had 20 points for Sonora.
SIERRA 64, EAST UNION 23, at East Union -- Christian Williams had 14 points to lead the fifth-ranked large-school Timberwolves (20-4, 10-2) over the Lancers (8-17, 3-9). It was the sixth time in 12 league games that Sierra held its opponent to fewer than 40 points
Modesto Metro Conference
DOWNEY 56, JOHANSEN 43, at Johansen -- Joe Napoleon helped make sure the No. 2 large-school Knights (19-6, 11-2)kept the lead against the Vikings (12-15, 6-7), scoring nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. Joe Hardee added 14 for Downey, which is in sole possession of first place after Modesto's 55-48 loss to Davis.
BEYER 78, ENOCHS 44, at Enochs -- In a battle between two of the conference's top big men, 6-5 junior Bryan Garbez had 16 points while playing little more than a half to lead the Patriots (10-16, 4-9) past the Eagles (0-25, 0-13) and 6-7 Marcus Bell (six points). Beyer hit five of its seven treys in the third quarter -- Dom Rossi (13 points) had four of them -- for a 53-29 lead.
RIPON 73, RIVERBANK 69 (2OT), at Riverbank -- Efren Sifuentes (24 points) hit two free throws in the final seconds as the Indians (15-10, 10-3) survived a double-overtime scare and beat the Bruins (7-19, 3-10), despite a combined 51 points from Lucas Pope (26) and Francisco Pineda (25). Pope's two free throws with 10 seconds in regulation sent the game into overtime.
Sifuentes hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter, but the Indians still trailed 28-26 at halftime. Ripon surged ahead in the third quarter, but with Pope's help -- he was 12 of 13 from the free-throw line for the game, including his two at the end -- Riverbank forced overtime.
OAKDALE 66, CENTRAL VALLEY 61, at Oakdale -- Bryce Gerhardt scored 20 points and John Miller had 17, including two 3-pointers, as the Mustangs (8-18, 2-10) beat the Hawks (8-17, 3-9). After losing its first 10 VOL games in a row, Oakdale has won its last two -- it stunned Manteca in overtime Wednesday.
Trevor Mew scored 21 points in Central Valley's comeback, but the closest it got was the final score. Yama Noorzai added 14 points for the Hawks.
MARIPOSA 75, TURLOCK CHR. 32, at Mariposa -- Cody Wichmann scored 22 points to help the No. 2 small-school Grizzlies (22-4, 13-0) defeat the Eagles (6-18, 4-9) for their 18th consecutive victory. Mariposa went on a 23-2 run in the third quarter.
DENAIR 53, DELHI 45, at Delhi -- Mason Wooten, the Stanislaus District's No. 6 score with 21.1 points per game, pumped in 26 to help the Coyotes (12-12, 7-6) defeat the Hawks (4-20, 2-11). Juan Estrada had 19 points for Delhi.
Harvest Christian League
BIG VALLEY CHR. 77, JIM ELLIOT CHR. 54, at Jim Elliot -- Jared Lunsford had 28 points as the Lions (21-4, 9-1) downed the Eagles (5-4). BVC led 17-14 after one quarter, then outscored its foe 25-7 in the second.
Jordan Hogan had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Big Valley. Josh Hansen had 18 points for Jim Elliot.
Harvest Christian League girls
BIG VALLEY CHR. 56, JIM ELLIOT CHR. 53, at Jim Elliot -- Kristen Dadesho scored eight of her 21 points in the fourth quarter, when BVC (10-10, 5-4) outscored the Eagles 15-12. Leslie Huber had 22 points for Jim Elliot.