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Sonora starts hot, fast, holds off Bret Harte

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora’s Charlie Dunn (32, right) shoots a 3-pointer on Friday night against Bret Harte at Bud Castle Gym. Dunn scored a co-team high 18 points.
Nate Patterson, Charlie Dunn and Kahale Warring each scored 18 points on Friday night to lead the Sonora Wildcats over the Bret Harte Bullfrogs 73-61 at Bud Castle Gym in Sonora.

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 20-4 lead after the first quarter and lead 40-18 at halftime.

“I was excited in the first half with how we played defense,” said Wildcat head coach Dan Dona. “We did an awesome job to jump out like that. We also hit four 3s in the first quarter and shot real well.”

Columbia edged by West Hills

Columbia College guard Michael Meserole (34) looks for a teammate during a Central Valley Conference game against West Hills on Wednesday at Oak Pavilion. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat
There was going to come a time this season when one player had to take over for the Columbia College men’s basketball team.

And on Wednesday night, that player was Tony Williams.

Williams rose to the occasion for the Claim Jumpers despite the team being severely crippled by foul trouble and the absence of two key players.

The lanky 6-foot-4 sophomore guard scored 24 of his team-high 27 points in the second half, but Columbia couldn’t overcome its own wrongdoings and fell 80-78 to West Hills in a Central Valley Conference match at Oak Pavilion.

“It was a tough game,” Williams said. “They played hard and we played hard. They just came out with the win.”

Cats make playoffs: Sonora defeats injury-plagued Bears

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora’s Nate Gookin (above right) and Summerville’s Constantin Rust wrestle on Wednesday in Tuolumne.
With a playoff berth on the line, the Sonora Wildcats were able to take down the Summerville Bears, 58-12, to clinch second place in the Mother Lode League Wednesday night in Tuolumne.

“We talked as a team this week that if we won this match, we could go to team sections and that was one of the goals the kids had,” Sonora coach Jon Abernathy said. “They came out and wrestled well. Summerville, of course, had difficulty fielding a full team, so that gave us a big advantage.”

That advantage went in Sonora’s favor early, as the Cats led 6-0 on a forfeit. In all, Sonora would win seven matches by way of forfeit.

After a Colton Sanguinetti 6-2 win in the 113-pound weight class, and an Austin Hickey win via forfeit, Sonora led 15-0.

Summerville sophomore Devin Conklin locked up with Kellen Philips in the 126-pound weight class and jumped out to an early 8-0 lead after the first round. He got two points on a takedown, and six points on two different near-falls. 

“I was keeping his legs tied up because that keeps his hips down, so that I could work other moves on top of him,” Conklin said. “That way I don’t have to use more energy than I have to.”

Preps roundup: Frogs now in 3rd; Cat student-athletes recognized

The Bret Harte Bullfrogs boys’ basketball team jumped into third place in the Mother Lode League Tuesday night with a narrow 61-59 victory over the Argonaut Mustangs (13-10, 5-4 MLL) in Angels Camp.

Michael Ziehlke scored 13 points to lead a balanced Bret Harte offensive attack.

Also for the Bullfrogs (12-8, 5-3 MLL) Kyle Olsen added 11 points and 11 rebounds, Danny Eustis-Smith netted 12 points, Bennett Paris added 10 and Eddie Santos chipped in seven.

Summerville rolls: Bears start quick, slam door on Lions

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville point guard Braden Anderson (above) drives into the lane on Tuesday against Linden in Tuolumne.
Identical twins Eli and Ethan McLaurin are hard to differentiate on the basketball court.

Both are 6-foot-1 and sport the same style haircut.

If it weren’t for their numbers — 20 for Ethan and 34 for Eli — it would be hard to keep track of the Summerville Bear juniors.

Another common feature for Eli and Ethan is their ability to score and that was evident on Tuesday in Tuolumne. The McLaurin twins both caught fire and combined for 36 points to help the Summerville Bears boys’ basketball team roll over the Linden Lions 61-37 in a Mother Lode League match.

Eli scored a game-high 22 points and Ethan added another 14. 

“It was probably one of the funnest games that I’ve ever played as a Bear,” Eli said. “It was an all-around great effort from the team. It was pretty fun.”

CC super shooter is among ‘King’ of treys in state

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Columbia’s Rafe King shoots from beyond the arch on Saturday in front of a large crowd at Oak Pavilion.
When Rafe King launches the basketball from 3-point land, there is a 42.5 percent chance his shot will slice through the net.

King, a sophomore guard on the Columbia College men’s basketball team, is one of the premier shooters in California. 

The 6-foot-3 Carson City import is second in the state with 71 3-point baskets made and is now fourth all-time at Columbia with 151 career triples. He is behind Aaron Howell’s 278 (1989-91), Keith Robinson’s 161 (2010-12) and, if he gets hot tonight when the Claim Jumpers host West Hills, he could move past Mikey Dyer’s 156 (2000-02).

“Rafe is by far the best 3-point shooter I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Columbia freshman guard Marquell Hubbard, who leads the Claim Jumpers in scoring. “I’ve never seen anybody that can keep shooting. He has the same form everytime he shoots, and I expect it to go in every time.”

S’ville girls battle, fall to host Linden

Bailey Richter scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds but the Summerville Bears girls hoopsters suffered a 42-35 defeat Tuesday night to their hosts, the Linden Lions.

Cassidy Weathers scored 13 points and hauled in seven rebounds, Haven Trambley grabbed 10 points and tossed in a bucket and Richter added two steals and two blocks.

The Bears, who played shorthanded due to illness, trailed 11-4 after the first quarter but trimmed the Lions lead to 19-14 at halftime.

“I’m real proud of the girls tonight,” said Bears head coach Dave Woods. “We were short handed and made a good game out of it. Linden made their free throws and that was the difference in the game.”

Preps roundup: Bears run through Amador; host Linden tonight

The Summerville Bears boys’ basketball team snapped its back-to-back losses with a 51-30 win over Amador on Friday in Tuolumne.

Bryce Farrell and Eli McLaurin each scored 11 points for the Bears. Cameron Saunders recorded six and Ben Richardson added five. Ethan McLaurin and Darren Warnock both had four. Cole Elkins and Cole Brewster also had three each. Braden Anderson and Danny Robles both finished with two.

Summerville led 19-3 after the first quarter and coasted to another Mother Lode League victory.

“We just got out to a fast start,” said Summerville head coach Ben Watson. “We played pretty good defense and combined with us making a couple of shots early, we got out to a big lead early. We just kind of kept the lead the rest of the game. We came out defensively pretty strong and we got some transition hoops.”

Cats beat Skins in battle for 1st

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora’s Charlie Dunn (32) drives to the basket against Calaveras on Friday in the Wildcats win at Mike Flock Gym.

For The Union Democrat

As the Sonora High School boys’ basketball team walked off the court inside the Mike Flock Gym Friday night in San Andreas, the Wildcats officially took back first place in the Mother Lode League.  

With their 60-45 victory over the Calaveras Redskins, who move into second place, the Cats not only avenged a loss they suffered earlier in the year to the Skins at Bud Castle Gym, but they also over a two-game deficit.

“Being able to pick up the two games that we were behind in the standings is huge because it shows that we are putting in the hard work and are continuing to get better,” Sonora senior Kahale Warring said. “We are really becoming a family right now, and this is the best chemistry we have had all season. All that we have wanted all season is to be in first place. ... We know that if we continue to take care of business and play hard the rest of the season, hopefully we will be able to stay on top.”


Columbia can’t find offense in loss to COS

Columbia’s Marquell Hubbard passes on Saturday during the Claim Jumpers loss to College of Sequioas at Oak Pavilion. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat
When the Columbia College men’s basketball team is executing at a high level, the Claim Jumpers are tough to beat.

But against College of the Sequoias on Saturday at Oak Pavilion, Columbia’s execution wasn’t on par to head coach Rob Hoyt’s liking.

The Claim Jumpers shot just 32 percent from the field (16 of 49) and were defeated by the Giants 58-47 in front of their largest crowd of the season.

Tony Williams scored a team-high 12 points and was the only Columbia player in double-figures. Rafe King and Michael Meserole both tossed in nine and Marquell Hubbard added seven. Rosendo AmayaWood finished with two. The 47 points registered is the fewest the team has scored all year.

“Everybody was kind of cold,” Hoyt said. “We rely on certain guys from certain areas of the floor and they’re trying and they’re doing their best, but we were just unable to connect.”

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