Sonora defeats Downey 46-23 in season opener

The Union Democrat Sports Department

Sonora senior Nick Mays scored 22 points and pulled down five rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 46-23 basketball win over Downey in Modesto on Saturday.

The Cats held Downey to only 10 first half points in the defensive battle.

"Both teams played very good defense and we really did a nice job in the second half," said Sonora head coach Rick Francis. "Holding a team to 10 points in one half is pretty good, so I'll take that whenever I can."

After a low scoring first half, Sonora exploded in the third and fourth quarters, scoring 31 of its total points in the second half alone.

Mays was the Cats leading scorer and junior Derek Smith added 10 points off the bench.

"Nick Mays really had an outstanding game to start the season," Francis said. "Derek Smith is a transfer kid and had a good game. We found out on Saturday that we have a really good bench."

Also scoring for the Wildcats were Cody Hansten with six points, Danny Matranga with three points, Jeff Storey with two points, Russel Wilson with two points and senior Ben Bates with one-point.

Matranga and Matt Howard led Sonora in assists with two each.

The Wildcats out-rebounded Downey 28 to 16 and were 12 for 21 from the free throw line.

Sonora also sank 15 shots from the field.

"I spent this morning watching film and we have an awful lot of improvement to make offensively and defensively," Francis said on Sunday. "It's nice to win the first game, but you can't be satisfied, you just gotta keep working harder and harder."

Saturday's game officially tipped off the 2012-13 season for the Wildcats, who now stand at 1-0.

Sonora will host a foundation game today against Bret Harte.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in Sonora High School's Bud Castle Gym.

A foundation game raises money for the section to provide scholarships but doesn't count on the record.

The Wildcats' official home opener against Riverbank is on Dec. 14.

Sonora will open Valley Oak League play on Jan. 2 at home against favorite Weston Ranch.

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The Union Democrat
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