LODI-A powerful dunk by Summerville's Rosendo Amaya-Wood to start the second quarter against Riverbank provided the biggest spark in a night of fireworks as the Bears dispatched the Bruins Wednesday night with relative ease.
Following the slam off an assist by Summerville sophomore Bryce Farrell, the Bears went on a 10-0 run to take a commanding 14-point lead on their way to a 72-55 victory in the semifinals of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Basketball Championships at Tokay High School.
"I got the ball in the post and I immediately looked high and knew someone was going to be dropping down from the high post but I didn't know it was him (Amaya-Wood)," said Farrell. "I saw him and just flicked the ball to him with my right hand. He caught it, went up two feet and there was no one in front of him."
Amaya-Wood had another dunk late in the second half after the Bears had all but completely sealed the victory leading by 15 points with 30 seconds left. He scored a team-high 15 points. Summerville head coach Ben Watson praised his rebounding and post play as well.
"Rosendo really put on a show tonight," said Watson. "He saved one of his best games for tonight and hopefully there's more to come from him because he's got a bright future."
The win not only avenges the Bears' three-point loss to the Bruins earlier this season, but also means Summerville's historic season continues its journey into the section championship game Saturday at Sleep Train Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings.
"It's going to be surreal," said Farrell, who contributed 2-points in Summerville's 10-0 run to start the second quarter with a putback that made the score 29-17 and caused Riverbank's coaches to call a timeout with 4:59 on the clock.
"We knew how good they (Bears) were and they proved that tonight," said Riverbank head coach Jeff Jennings. "I'm hoping they get the win on Saturday, so I'm pulling for 'em."
Riverbank would claim their biggest - and only - lead of the game, 4-0, in the first few minutes before Summerville came roaring back.
Connor Morningstar got the ball under the hoop off a no-look pass by Logen Foster and put it in for two points, which Riverbank answered. The Bears narrowed the deficit to three points after Amaya-Wood quickly scored another two and Foster then drained a 3-pointer from the corner for Summerville's first lead, 7-6, at 5:15. He showed his versatility, ending the night with 13 points, four rebounds and a team-high seven assists.
"He's just a hard worker and made some nice passes tonight," said Morningstar of Foster's performance.
Summerville led 35-25 at the break but few were prepared - especially Riverbank - for what the Bears had in store for the third quarter.
"We started off real hot and then they started hitting shots and we knew we needed to do something," said Amaya-Wood. "Watson told us at halftime they were going to play hard and we just had to beat them. I thought we played harder than them in the third and that was the difference."
The Bears outscored the Bruins 22-5 in the decisive quarter.
"We had confidence and we knew we were going to win from the first tip," said Farrell. "The crowd was with us and we just felt good. We were shooting well and they weren't, and it just kept on like that for the whole game."
Despite the neutral gymnasium, the "Bear Cave" travelled well with the school band and spirited students in full force cheering on their team. At one point, the Riverbank crowd's chants of, "Defense!" were actually drowned out by the louder Summerville crowd chanting, "Offense!"
Down 57-30 at the start of the fourth quarter, Riverbank made a quick 9-0 runafter getting 3-pointers off turnovers on three consecutive possessions. It hardly mattered as the Bears battled and answered them, point-for-point, to the end.
But some Bears were concerned about their play in that final period going into Saturday's championship matchup against Liberty Ranch.
"We let up at the end and let them hit a lot of 3s when we were in a zone and we gotta close games better than that," said Summerville co-captain Jesse Roberson, who grabbed a game-high eight boards and added nine points.
The Bears continued their sharing ways with eight players putting up points including four in the double-digits.
"Our biggest strength is that our kids are great kids and they share the ball," said Watson. "They don't care who scores as long as somebody does, and that really makes a coach feel proud."
Summerville's Kyle McLaurin had 10 points, including two second-half treys, Morningstar added 12, Colton Ebbers scored three, Farrell had two off his putback and Joey Brocchini had eight.
Though usually an outside shooter for the Bears, Brocchini scored six of his eight in the post off passes from Amaya-Wood and Roberson on three consecutive possessions at the start of the third quarter leading Riverbank to call a timeout at 5:10.
"The thing that impresses me the most about Summerville is how interchangeable they all are," said Jennings. "You've got guys playing different spots. A big guy will bring the ball down the floor and pass it to a guard who's posting. Things like that are unorthodox, so they're a little hard to guard and I think they do a really good job of that. I definitely feel that was a big part of the game."
Liberty Ranch defeated Colfax in overtime prior to Summerville's matchup on Wednesday and will face the Bears in the section championship on Saturday.
Watson said they'll have to prepare for a couple of Liberty Ranch's big-time shooters, like Michael Meserole, who scored 30 points against Colfax and averaged 25.4 per game this season.
"Liberty Ranch is obviously the real deal," Watson said. "We saw how good they are and a couple players that are almost unstoppable. We'll start tomorrow at practice trying to see how we can handle those guys, but we definitely have our work cut out for us."