And in second half on Monday, on a fast break, the 6-foot, 7-inch, 240-pound center threw down a powerful dunk that shattered the bottom of the backboard glass.
But that powerful jam did not derail Sonora’s confidence.
The Wildcats erased a four-point lead in the final period to win 64-63 in San Andreas.
“Our coach definitely said after that, for us to keep our composure,” said Wildcat post player Kahale Warring. “Tune out whatever we had to do to ignore it. We just fought, we wanted it more than they did.”
Gouveia was a focal point for Calaveras in the first half. The Stanislaus State-bound Redskin scored a jaw-dropping 23 points alone in the opening two periods.
“We were scoring not at will, but the way we liked,” said Calaveras head coach Kraig Clifton.
With Gouveia’s outstanding presence in the paint, Calaveras took a 36-33 advantage into the break.
“That kid, he’s a monster really,” said Sonora head coach Dan Dona. “He’s such a big strong kid, just a really excellent basketball player as well.”
Then came the third quarter.
With excellent ball movement in the backcourt, Dona challenged the Redskins guards and employed a full-court pressure.
Immediately, Dona’s halftime adjustments paid dividends. The Wildcats recorded back-to-back steals and scored a quick pair of hoops to retake the lead at 38-36.
Calaveras had a difficult time with the press and that left Gouveia without many scoring opportunities.
After trading a couple of baskets, Redskin Dalton Fletcher knotted up the score at 44.
Gouveia, held scoreless for nearly 6 minutes, tapped in a missed 3-pointer to give Calaveras a 46-44 lead.
But it was the next play that had fans in a frenzy.
Kyle Funk poked away a steal and, on the breakaway, tossed up the ball up for Gouveia, who slammed it down and made a glass-shattering statement with 2:03 left to play in the third.
“I just went up and then it broke,” Gouveia said. “I was scared after it happened. I thought I was going to get yelled at.”
Sonora’s Will Collamer was in disbelief.
“That was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see that,” Collamer said. “I was shocked. I had no idea what to think. I was just shocked.”
The game was delayed after that incident, and was moved into the backup auxiliary gym, which is usually used for practices and emergencies.
Action resumed after nearly 25 minutes and Calaveras gained control of the game until the 1:16 mark in the fourth quarter.
Sonora guard Thomas Nelson drained a bucket that marked the Wildcats’ first lead since the middle of the third period.
After Nelson’s shot, the Wildcats weren’t going to give the Redskins a chance to get the ball in Gouveia’s hand again.
Sonora’s trio of guards applied their full-court press, and Calaveras was unable to move the ball past the half-court line, which resulted in a 10 second violation and a turnover.
“In the very last four-to-five minutes, we didn’t handle the pressure well at all,” Clifton said.
With under 30 seconds to play, Collamer was fouled to preserve precious ticks for Calaveras.
Collamer slotted two clutch free throws to extend Sonora’s lead to 64-60.
“I think I played well today,” said Collamer, who finished with 20 points and two steals. “I’m more proud of my defense than I am my offense. We wanted to win bad. We just went after it. We played real hard on defense. We played fast and played fundamental, which was good.”
Calaveras point guard Mike Seawell answered with a 3-pointer, but with a second left on the clock, Sonora sealed its win on an inbound pass to Warring.
“We played very hard the whole game,” Seawell said. “They’re a really good team, they could shoot the lights out. We played hard and that’s all you could ask for.”
Sonora limited Gouveia just three buckets in the second half. He shot 12 of 15 from the field and converted 7 of 10 from the free throw line.
Nelson dropped 18 points. He nailed two of Sonora’s nine 3s in the game. Also, Collamer was 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.
“It feels like we are just starting to get where I want us to be in league,” Dona said. “We have to play in the Columbia College tournament and hopefully we’ll play there just as well.”