It might not have been the first-round breather that Modesto Christian High boys basketball team has become used to over the years, but the Crusaders were never really challenged in their Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff debut Wednesday night, holding off Ponderosa 78-65.
Modesto Christian, the bracket’s No. 2 seed, got the inside-outside balance it needed, with Anthony Townes scoring 21 points and Robinson Idehen 16, mostly in the paint, and Jeff Wu drilling three three-pointers en route to 20 points.
Still, Ponderosa stayed close through some outside marksmanship of its own, as Adam Orr hit four three-pointers and finished with 14 points to keep his team reasonably close. Matthew Bejsovec led the Bruins with 17 points.
Modesto Christian will be back home Friday night to battle No. 10 seed Elk Grove, which upset Whitney 47-45.
In a Division I game, Sheldon beat Turlock 89-54.
Sierra 62, Fairfield 49 in Manteca – The Timberwolves displayed great scoring balance and led wire-to-wire after a fast start to advance. Devin Nunez had five three-pointers and finished with 18 points, while Jess Spivey added 15 and Hunter Johnson had 14. The Timberwolves, the No. 3 seed, will host No. 11 Vallejo on Friday after the RedHawks stunned Florin 81-79.
Manteca 51, Lincoln 48 in Manteca – Anand Hundal had a solid all-around game, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks as the Buffaloes held off the Zebras. No. 5 Manteca (21-6) got one the biggest breaks of the first round when No. 13 Rio Americano stunned Cordoba 61-58, keeping the Buffaloes at home for the second round.
Elsewhere in Division III, Patterson’s two-year run under coach Brian de la Porte ended with a 70-44 loss at Christian Brothers and Ceres’ season came to an end with an 83-64 loss to Vanden.
Central Catholic 56, Natomas 49 in Modesto – The No. 7-seeded Raiders needed a flurry at the end to survive, and they got it by outscoring the visiting Nighthawks 21-8 in the fourth quarter. Peter Hamilton had three three-pointers and led all scorers with 19 points, while Cooper Wilson added 10 for the Raiders, who go on the road Friday to face No. 2 seed Liberty Ranch.
In other Division IV games, Sonora beat Union Mine 73-57, Mesa Verda stunned Calaveras 57-43, Marysville beat Ripon 69-51 and West Campus topped Summerville 65-51.
Mariposa 85, Hughes Academy 31 at Mariposa – All the Grizzles got to enjoy the postseason experience, as 13 Mariposa players scored in the rout of the Titans from Stockton. Zack Smith and Dalton Rockwood had 13 points apiece, while Kama’Re Bailey and Jadin Battles added 12 apiece for Mariposa, which led 29-6 after one quarter and 53-10 at halftime. The No. 3-seeded Grizzlies stay home for Friday’s second-round game against Delta Charter.
Argonaut 73, LeGrand 49 in Jackson – Ryan Halvorsen erupted for 28 points and Miles Tomczak added 19 as the Mustangs broken open a close game by outscoring the Bulldogs 44-18 in the second half to advance. Sergio Gomez and Beto Marquez led Le Grand with 11 points apiece.