Amanda Hess scored 16 points for Mother Lode Christian School in a 34-25 victory over archrival Tioga on Tuesday night at Rex Heath Gym in Tuolumne.
The homestanding Cougars (5-12, 2-3 Mountain Valley League) outscored Tioga 8-3 in the third quarter to erase a 14-13 halftime deficit, then protected their lead in the fourth quarter before pulling away with a few late buckets.
Kim Holt let the Timberwolves (1-10, 1-4) with 13 points, including two 3-pointers. Vanessa Gilliam also hit a trey for Tioga.
Sonora 6-0 in VOL
Sonora reached the midpoint of the Valley Oak League race with a 6-0 record, and a one-game lead, by pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat East Union of Manteca 45-35 at Bud Castle Gym.
The Wildcats, 12-6 overall, are game up on Sierra of Manteca (14-6, 5-1) and two ahead of preseason favorite Manteca High (15-4, 4-2). They play their pursuers back-to-back in a couple weeks, hosting Sierra on Feb. 11 and visiting Manteca on Feb. 13.
Fourth-place East Union (8-11, 3-3) proved a formidable foe, leading the Wildcats 21-17 at halftime and taking them into the fourth quarter in a 29-29 tie.
Sonora soon had control though, scoring the first seven points of the final period to complete a 9-0 run. Lynnyatte Jordan opened the quarter with a breakaway layup, and fellow senior guard Nicki Rodriguez followed up with several key plays to complete the decisive surge.
First, she followed up her own missed shot with a putback for a 33-29 lead with 7:07 to play. Next, Rodriguez made a steal and got the ball to Jordan, who fed speeding center Jessica Peterson for a layup that turned into a 3-point play when Peterson was fouled going to the basket. Her free throw made it 36-29.
After East Union broke the run, Rodriguez wheeled across the lane and made a baby hook shot borrowing one of Peterson's signature moves to put Sonora up 38-31 with 5:25 left.