Nearly three weeks after beating Mountain Oaks of Valley Springs by 52 points, the Mother Lode Christian School boys' basketball team staged an encore performance against the Eagles on Thursday in the first round of the Cougar Holiday Classic at Rex Heath Gym in Tuolumne.

The Cougars (7-1) raced out to a 26-12 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, topping Mountain Oaks 78-43.

In very limited action, Chuck Storm and Cory Henson paced Mother Lode with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

"Chuck and Cory and all the starters probably played no more than eight minutes," Mother Lode coach Branden Hall said. "It was a nice first-round game for us because we were able to rotate five in and out at once, so the subs got a lot of playing time."

A total of 10 Cougars scored against Mountain Oaks, which was led by Justin Giuffra's 11 points.

Josh Neel (11 points) and Tim Atkins (10 points) also reached double figures for Mother Lode.

The Cougars will face Sacramento Country Day, which beat Victory Baptist of Mariposa 71-60 in the first round, tonight at 8.

If the Cougars win tonight, they will play in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. If Mother Lode loses tonight, it will play in the third-place game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

MLC girls

Thanks to a swarming defense that produced numerous fast-break opportunities, Mother Lode Christian (2-6) topped Sierra Christian of Rocklin 47-33 in the first round of the three-day Valley Christian Tournament in Roseville.

With Melissa Clapper (13 points), Amanda Hess (12 points) and Maggie Stone (10 points) all reaching double figures, the Cougars enjoyed a 20-point first quarter en route to setting a season high in points.

Sierra crept back into the game with a 14-4 edge in the fourth quarter, trimming Mother Lode's lead to 39-31. But the Cougars' defense stiffened again in the final period, limiting Sierra to just two points for the 14-point win.

The Cougars play Freedom Christian of Fair Oaks today and will face either Valley Christian or Champion Christian on Saturday.

The Union Democrat
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