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Tuolumne thriller: Bears edge Cats in OT

Summerville’s Colton Ebbers (54, above) spins and cans a free-throw line jumper with Sonora’s Kyle Wolfe (5, left) and Cody Hansten (22) defending on Tuesday in Tuolumne. Ebbers finished the night with 12 points. Amy Alonzo Rozak / Union Democrat.
Summerville held on for a 62-56 victory against county-rival Sonora after Bear guard Logen Foster nailed a clutch buzzer-beating baseline fadeaway jumper that took Tuesday night’s basketball showdown into overtime.

With less than 10 seconds remaining, Sonora took the lead 50-48 when Wildcat forward Ben Bates scored off a strong inside move, prompting Bears head coach Ben Watson to call a timeout.

Foster then buried the game-saver off a pass from guard Kyle McLaurin.

“They’re a bunch of kids who have been playing basketball with each other since they were little guys and it’s enjoyable to watch when they go at it,” said Watson of the thrilling finish. 

“I wish I would have been a fan tonight rather than a coach because it probably would have been better on my health,” he joked.

The Bears pulled away in overtime scoring six unanswered points within the first couple of minutes.

“Obviously, after Logen’s amazing shot we were just pumped,” said Summerville’s Rosendo Amaya-Wood. “He put up that shot and then the pressure was on us to execute, which is what we did.”

The Wildcats fought hard during those final four minutes but couldn’t close the gap.

Amaya-Wood’s 6-foot-7 presence in the post was helpful to the Bears throughout the night. He scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished three assists.

The senior forward pointed out the team effort it took to put away Sonora, which has won eight of the past ten meetings between the teams since 2004. 

Amaya-Wood along with Colton Ebbers, Jesse Roberson and Foster all scored in the double digits. 

Bear guard Joey Brocchini led the Bears in rebounds with 10. He also added seven points including the team’s only 3-pointer, which came off a pass from Ebbers midway through the first quarter to take a 10-7 lead.

“Joey hit a couple of big shots that really kept us in there,” said Foster.

The score stayed close throughout but the momentum appeared to be with Summerville by the close of the first half. It was tied 14-14 at the end of the first quarter and Summerville led at halftime 27-22.

In the third quarter, Summerville worked its way to its biggest lead of the night with eight unanswered points to start the period.

However, Sonora came storming back and cut the defict to four points going into the final quarter.

“We knew the second half had to be a good one and so we just came out hard,” said Wildcat co-captain Nick Mays, who recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Also for the Wildcats, Bates ended the night with 14 points and seven rebounds while Josh Thacker had 11 points and five boards.

“They’ve got a good squad, they really do,” Mays said of the 2012-13 Summerville Bears. “They’ve got those three big guys inside (Roberson, Amaya-Wood and Connor Morningstar) who all can score and then they’ve got Logen who can score at will when he wants. They’re a great team and are going to have a lot of success this season.”

The outsized Cats appeared to struggle at times getting penetration on Summerville’s inside defense and instead resorted to the outside shot with some success.

Mays and Wildcat guard Jeff Storey each had a pair of treys while Danny Matranga added one of his own.

“It’s exhilarating everytime we play Sonora whether or not it’s a preseason game,” said Bear forward Ebbers. “I have a lot of history with that team, so it’s fun to get the bragging rights. It’s definitely a fun tradition we have here between Summerville and Sonora.”

Ebbers had 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal on the night. He gave credit to Foster for his heartstopping save at the end of the game and the other players who made it possible.

“You can’t single any one player when it comes down to it, but I think that last shot at regulation time was key and I give a lot of props to Logen and a lot of props to the the people who screened for him. I just think our team did exceptional tonight.”

Watson was also pleased with the way his players executed, especially on offense in overtime to keep the Cats from clawing back. 

The Bears will build off the win as they seek their first Mother Lode League title since the 2010-11 season. That team defeated Sonora during the preseason as well.

Summerville (5-1) next will head to the Hilmar Tournament on Thursday, while Sonora (4-5) hosts Riverbank in Bud Castle Gym on Friday.

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