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Hawks top Thunder, Mustangs
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The Central Valley High JV boys basketball team overcame a sluggish first-half performance and beat Buhach Colony 61-48 in Valley Oak League action Wednesday night in Ceres.

“We executed like we were supposed to in the second half,” Hawks coach Darryl Dickson said.

Yama Noorzai had 17 points, including five 3-pointers, for first-place Central Valley. Sean McLeod and Tony Marques scored 15 and 12 points apiece. Trevor Mew added 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

Braden Williamson and Markus Mellosa had 10 points apiece for the Thunder. Teddy Schrier scored nine points. Levi Pollock and Ellito Oldenhage both added eight points.

“We were playing lazy defense in the first half,” Noorzai said. “The second half we picked it up. We moved the ball around. We hit a couple of shots. And that got us going.”

Added Marques: “We knew it was going to be tough. Every team we face brings their best game.”

Said Dickson said. “These kids never give up.”

Williamson, Mellosa, Pollock, Schrier and Oldenhage helped Buhach Colony build a 34-27 lead in the first half.

Williamson tallied eight of his 10 points in the first quarter, including two 3-pointers. Mellosa had nine points, including one 3-pointer. Pollock and Schrier scored five points apiece. Pollock also made one 3-pointer. Oldenhage added two points.

“The defensive intensity wasn't there in the first half,” Dickson said. “That was key.”

Three of Central Valley's starters did not practice on Monday and Tuesday. McLeod and Mew were sidelined with injuries. Gerald Garcia attended a funeral.

“We were a little rusty,” Dickson said.

Central Valley ran a box-and-one defense against Williamson during the final three quarters of play.

“We took him out of the game and the other shooters cooled off,” Dickson said.

The Hawks erased an eight-point deficit with a 14-2 run in the final 5 minutes, 30 seconds of the third quarter.

Garcia made a layup. McLeod converted a layup and scored inside off an offensive rebound. Mew and Noorzai drained back-to-back 3-pointers from the left elbow. Chris Beleele's tipin gave Central Valley a 45-41 lead heading into the final quarter.

“I like pressure,” Noorzai said.

The Hawks extended their lead to 12, 53-41, with an 8-0 surge in the opening 3:24 of the fourth.

Mew and Noorzai buried back-to-back 3-pointers from the right baseline. Marques capped the run with a 16-foot jumper from the right side.

Ahead 57-47, the Hawks converted all four of their free throws in the final 15.9 seconds. McLeod made three, while Martin Gomez made one.

“We should have won by more,” Noorzai said.

Central Valley shot 34 percent (12-for-35) from the field and 45 percent (5-for-11) from the free-throw line after intermission.

The Hawks limited the Thunder to 14 percent shooting from the floor (4-for-29). Buhach Colony shot 50 percent (4-for-8) from the foul line.

“The second half we went inside to Sean and Tony,” Dickson said. “When they doubled, we kicked it out. Yama and Trevor did what they were supposed to do. They hit some big shots.”

Central Valley edged Oakdale 51-48 during “Pack the Gym Night” on Friday in Ceres. More than 500 fans attended game.

“It was a lot of fun,” Dickson said.

McLeod, Mew and Noorzai had 20, 18 and 11 points apiece for the Hawks, who took over sole possession of first place in the VOL at 6-2. Mew and Noorzai combined for six 3-pointers as both made three.

“We wanted to really take it to them but Oakdale came out really hot,” Dickson said.

Central Valley trailed 38-34 at the end of the third quarter.

The Hawks outscored the Mustangs 17-10 in the fourth quarter as McLeod and Noorzai led the way with six points apiece and Mew added three. Noorzai made two 3-pointers. Mew drained one 3.

Oakdale turned the ball over on its final possession.

Noorzai stole the inbound pass with less than two seconds on the clock.

“This group doesn't give up and they find a way to win close games,” Dickson said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier