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Sells to succeed Francis as AD

Sonora High math teacher and former softball coach Karen Sells will take over as the Wildcats athletic director in June when Rick Francis, longtime caretaker of the position, retires.

Sells was chosen by the Sonora High Board of Trustees in closed session at Tuesday’s meeting. 

“I’m extremely excited,” Sells said. “It will be a different challenge from teaching. I love to teach, but athletics have always been where my heart is. And it’s the best of both worlds, I will still get to teach part time.”

Linden pulls away from S’ville

Cassidy Weathers hit her first four shots to help the Summerville girls’ basketball team gain an early one-point lead, but Linden was too strong down the stretch and handed the Bears a 57-38 Mother Lode League loss on Thursday in Tuolumne.

Weathers finished with a team-high 10 points and also recorded four rebounds and two steals. Bailey Richter added nine points and Sarah Boyer tossed in eight. Haven Trambley notched seven and Mariah Graham had four.

“We’re not playing well right now,” Summerville head coach Dave Woods said. “We play well in spurts, but we’re not consistent. We don’t play well over the long haul.”


Columbia keeps win streak alive, tops Porterville 71-59

For the first time this season, the Columbia College men’s basketball team did not have a single supporter in the stands.

And although that fan support fell short, it had no effect on the Claim Jumpers.

Marquell Hubbard, Tony Williams, Michael Meserole and Ian Merzwinski all scored in double-figures to help Columbia knock off the Porterville College Pirates 71-59 on Wednesday in a Central Valley Conference road game.

“It’s kind of the mentality we have,” Claim Jumpers head coach Rob Hoyt said. “It’s us against everybody. We have each other’s back. We’re a family. When you make these far trips, you have to rely on each other.”

Preps roundup: Sonora girls’ hoops top Linden, improves to 6-0

Eight different players scored for the Sonora as the Wildcats girls’ basketball team cruised to a 69-54 win versus Linden on Tuesday at Bud Castle Gym.

Senior star Bailey Henington led the way with 24 points. Sandra Renda scored 17 points and Michelle Ries added 12. Elyse Quenneville rattled in seven and Leah Dambacher and Brooke Canepa each had four. Hannah Garrett had two and Karina Herrera finished with one.

The Wildcats led 36-22 at halftime, and at one point, stretched their lead to as many as 20.

Henington also had seven steals and five assists. Renda recorded five boards and six steals. Quenneville hauled in a team-best eight rebounds.

The Wildcats (13-5, 6-0 Mother Lode League) wrapped up the first round of conference play and will return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Linden.

Tioga girls’ hoopsters beat Don Pedro 35-18

Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Don Pedro’s Valeria Sandoval (21, above center) moves the ball down the court as Tioga Timberwolves Heidi Miller (10) and Kailey McCoy defend on Wednesday in Groveland.
Tioga’s Kailey McCoy made a steal and quickly went to the basket for a layup. 13 seconds later the sophomore point guard had the ball in her hands again and converted another drive to the basket. 30 ticks after that, McCoy grabbed an offensive rebound and made the putback.

In matter of 43 seconds on Wednesday night, McCoy broke open a close contest and helped the Timberwolves pull away for a 35-18 Mountain Valley League victory over the short-handed Don Pedro Panthers in Groveland.

“Kailey is probably the most savvy girl out there,” said Tioga head coach Tari Skelley. “We’re just working on her goofy side.”

Here come the Bears: Summerville beats Bret Harte for 3rd straight win

Jesse Jones/ Union Democrat Summerville’s Chad Sweitzer (12, above) hauls down a rebound while under pressure from Bret Harte’s Colin Preston on Tuesday in the Bears victory over Bret Harte in Tuolumne.
The ball movement for the Summerville Bears boys’ basketball team was textbook on Tuesday against Bret Harte.

Every time a Summerville player had the ball, more often times than not, he made the correct read and pass. The Bears dished 18 assists and seven different players scored en route to a 58-49 Mother Lode League win over Bret Harte in Tuolumne.

Summerville senior Bryce Farrell scored 15 points, converting 70 percent of his shots on 7 of 10 attempts. The 6-foot-3 senior forward also hauled in seven rebounds and distributed two assists. Ethan McLaurin added 16 points and a team-best six steals.

“We had excellent ball movement today,” Farrell said after the Bears’ third straight win. “We made great and sound passes. They were safe, but they were also efficient and effective. That was part of the reason why we won tonight. I love making assists though. As a quarterback, I love passing the ball. It makes me feel good because other guys are scoring the points and you feel good about making great passes. Great passes are tougher to make than great shots.”

Preps roundup: Skins run MLL record to 5-0 with win over Buffs

The Calaveras Redskins boys hoopsters continued their winning ways on Tuesday with a 44-32 Mother Lode League victory over the Amador Buffaloes at Mike Flock Gym.

The Redskins are a perfect 5-0 in league and are 16-1 overall while the Buffaloes are 0-5 and 5-14.

Jake Land, Jacob Williams, and Brandon Cline each scored nine points for the Redskins while Dane Ehlers added six points and eight rebounds.

 “It was an ugly win, but they all count the same,” said Redskins head coach Kraig Clifton. “Not taking anything away from Amador, but I think we were a little flat, with a hangover from the Sonora game (a 53-36 emotional road victory on Friday). We can’t continue to play this way. Anybody in our league has the ability to beat us if we don’t show up to play. Hopefully we learn from this.”

Tioga rally falls just short vs. Langston

The Tioga Timberwolves girls’ basketball team erased a 13-point halftime deficit, but fell just short losing 21-20 to Langston Hughes Academy on Monday in Groveland.

Tioga fell behind 7-2 in the first quarter and 15-2 at the break before charging back in the second half.

Kailey McCoy scored nine points and Heidi Miller chipped in five. Randie Scott finished with four points.

“Even though we started making baskets and we played a mean defense, Langston Hughes stayed fierce,” said Timberwolves head coach Tari Skelley. “It all came down to the last seconds of the game, unfortunately we just couldn’t make one play.”

Claim Jumpers whack Merced

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Columbia’s Alex Kiriluk shoots during the Claim Jumpers victory over Merced on Saturday at Oak Pavilion.
Nearly everything the Columbia College men’s basketball team tried to do Saturday went according to script.

On offense, the game plan was to attack Merced’s man defense and rack the ball, and defensively, Columbia wanted to protect the paint with its zone scheme and allow the Blue Devils opportunities from the 3-point line.

The Claim Jumpers executed that specific strategy and steamrolled the Blue Devils, who never threatened, winning 82-48 at Oak Pavilion to improve their record in Central Valley Conference play to a perfect 4-0.

All 10 Columbia players scored, led by sophomore guard Rafe King, who tallied 20 points and drained five triples. Marquell Hubbard finished with 15 points and forward Ian Merzwinski shot a perfect 5 of 5 and added 10. Tony Williams and Andrew Ignont each netted five and Alex Kiriluk had nine. Travis Arenas drilled a 3 and Rosendo AmayaWood and Will Collamer had two apiece.

“It was cool to see everybody score,” King said. “I know Travis, Will and ‘Drew — they never get in — so it was awesome for them to get in today and score. We were all excited.”

Fast start helps Skins beat Cats

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Calaveras junior Brandon Cline (35) scores two of his co-game high 14 points on Friday against Sonora at Bud Castle Gym.
Brandon Cline helped get Calaveras off to a hot start on Friday night and then emphatically added the exclamation point in the Redskins’ Mother Lode League victory over the Sonora Wildcats.

The 6-foot, 7-inch junior center scored the game’s first six points and had eight total in the first period as the Redskins raced out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back, beating the Wildcats 53-36 in front of a mostly-packed house at Bud Castle Gym.

“Oh my gosh, Brandon Cline, oh God, there’s some words I probably can’t use right now,” said Calaveras guard Kyle Funk. “He was a man! That’s the first time we’ve really seen him step up and use his size like that. Early in the game I think he had the first six or eight points off those seals and post ups. He gave us guards the opportunity to relieve the pressure off ourselves by getting the ball to him. We don’t win that game without him that’s the bottom line.”

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