Curtis Kellogg drained three treys within a four-minute span in the third quarter propelling Sonora to a 47-38 home win over Summerville on Tuesday night.
“Curtis hitting those 3s was very big for us,” said Sonora head coach Rick Francis. “And when we can get our outside game going, then the inside-outside game becomes even more prominent for us and that helps our big guys.”
Sonora had trailed 8-3 after one quarter and 14-13 at halftime. Sonora outscored Summerville 21-16 in that third quarter.
“In the third quarter, we caught fire,” said Kellogg, a 6-foot guard. “Before tonight, the third quarter had been our achilles heel. We’d always be slow in the third quarter. But tonight, we picked up the pressure and picked up our offense.”
With 47 seconds left in the first quarter, Summerville took an 8-3 lead on a Rosendo Amaya-Wood 12-foot swish after a sweet feed from guard Kyle McLaurin.
Just 30 seconds into the second quarter, McLaurin took a cross-court pass from guard Logen Foster and drained a trey — extending that lead to 11-3.
From that point until halftime, Sonora tightened the noose on defense and Summerville wasn’t able to score any more field goals.
Thanks in part to four points from 6-4 forward Josh Thacker, Sonora tied the score 13-13 with 1:53 to play before intermission.
“This was a game with two teams fighting hard and I loved seeing the tough defense,” said Francis. “With the 14-13 score at halftime, I was joking with some folks that we set the game of basketball back about 50 years the way we were shooting the ball. Then both teams got loosened up in the second half.”
A fast-paced, up-and-back frenzied third quarter was a neck-breaker for the fans.
Kellogg’s first trey came with 7:21 left in the quarter.
Summerville’s Josh Johnson, off a long pass from Joey Brocchini, drained a trey just 18 seconds later.
Then, less than 30 seconds later, Sonora forward Ben Bates took a pretty feed from Brandon Camara and nailed a 3.
Kellogg’s second trey, a 24-foot bomb, off an assist from Josh Dudley, gave Sonora a 23-17 lead.
Soon after, Sonora forward Nick Mays drew a double-team and fed forward Mark Relei who canned an 18-footer. Just 19 seconds later, Relei assisted on another Kellogg trey and Sonora led 28-20 with 3:32 left in the quarter.
Foster swished a 3-pointer less than a minute later. Sonora guard Jack Gardella quickly retaliated with his own trey.
Johnson, a 5-8 guard, made a strong move to the hoop and scored with five seconds left, cutting Sonora’s edge to 34-30 heading into the final frame.
“Sonora took a pretty good lead there in that third quarter and I was really impressed with the way our kids responded,” said Bears head coach Ben Watson.
Dudley gave a crafty inside feed to 6-9 center Tayler Thompson with 5:20 left in the contest. Then Thompson went skyward, drew the fifth foul on Bears star Travis Arenas, canned his shot, drained the freebie and Sonora led 38-31.
With 3:01 left, Johnson assisted on a McLaurin long-range trey and Summerville trailed just 38-36.
“This was a great game,” said Watson. “There were two teams out there really battling, battling, battling. It’s a two-point game with three minutes to go and nobody knows who’s gonna win. Sonora is so well-coached and they kept at it. They deserved this win. They did what they needed to do at the end.”
With 1:45 left, from the wing, Dudley made a quick feed on top to an open Gardella who promptly drained a 3 and Sonora led by five.
“I have full faith in Jack Gardella,” said Dudley, who had a game-high five assists and scored four points. “I knew he’d hit that shot.”
“That was one huge play,” said Francis. “Jack had to bury it, he did and that was one big shot for us. I like that Jack doesn’t hesitate. He pulled the trigger.”
With 1:10 left, Dudley earned an assist with an on-the-money 55-foot toss to Thompson who canned a bunny and Sonora’s lead was seven.
Then came the play of the night.
With 41 seconds to go, Thompson went airborne, grabbed an offensive board and, before he landed, made a jaw-dropping jam. Sonora’s lead was nine.
“It was beautiful!” beamed Gardella.
“Great timing by Tyler — attacking the boards — and that play was the real knife in the back right there,” said Francis. “It’s nice to have a guy that can go up there and do that kind of stuff.”
“I was waiting to get one of those this year,” said Thompson, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds. “All my teammates have been harassing me to get that O-board dunk.”
For Sonora, Bates grabbed a team-high five rebounds and scored four points, Mays scored four and Camara three.
Gardella and Kellogg shared game-high scoring honors with nine apiece.
“I learned to shoot those 3s from Coach Ronten,” said Kellogg.
Summerville’s long-time coach Marlen Ronten passed away in October. Sonora paid tribute to Ronten before the game by mentioning highlights of his distinguished career followed by a moment of silence.
“Coach Ronten was a huge influence on me growing up,” said Kellogg. “I give him all the credit for teaching me how to shoot.”
“Tonight, Marlen would have been proud that his grandson Kyle McLaurin hit two very nice 3s for Summerville,” said Francis.
Besides scoring six points, McLaurin also grabbed four rebounds. Johnson and Amaya-Wood each scored eight points, Foster had five, Colton Ebbers two, and Brocchini and Patrick Wiebe scored four apiece.
Brocchini had three assists, Amaya-Wood grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and Foster had five boards.
“Summerville played hard, but that’s what you expect from a team coached by Ben,” said Francis. “They play great defense. I told my guys, ‘Summerville is one of the best offensive rebounding teams you’ll face this season.’ ”
“Every loss is a tough one,” said McLaurin. “But this is a game we can really learn from.”
“As fast-paced as the third quarter was,” said Johnson, “I still think we could have gone faster and that would have helped us. Coach Watson wants us to be a fast team and we need to be quicker and improve on our movement on defense.”
“We played really tough defense,” said Amaya-Wood. “But we got into foul trouble. Overall, though, this was a really good game for us.”
Sonora and Summerville each own identical 4-2 records.
“This was a great win for us,” said Thompson. “I’m excited for our team moving forward.”