ATWATER — Kaden Verdin showed off some of his moves in the paint on Monday night.
Buhach Colony's 6-foot-7 center scored with a left-handed hook. He made a turn-around jumper from about 10 feet away.
However, many times all Verdin had to do was catch an easy pass from one of his guards and put the ball in the basket.
By the end of the night, Verdin finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to help the Thunder open their season with an 80-71 win over Kimball at the Thunder Dome.
"You have to be really aware when you're out there," Verdin said. "If you're not looking, one of the guards may hit you in the face or something with the ball.
"It's a positive to play with guards who can pass like that."
The Thunder had to shake off some early season rust.
Buhach Colony didn't make much of anything in the first half as Kimball jumped out to a 14-point lead late in the second quarter.
The Thunder turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and made just 1 of 11 shots from behind the 3-point line.
"I think we had some cobwebs," Buhach Colony coach John Bliss said. "We had seven steals in the first half and we didn't score on any of them. We were out of sync."
Felix Borruel kept the Thunder in the game by scoring the final seven points in the first half, including a tip-in at the buzzer to pull the Thunder within 36-29 at the half.
Buhach Colony came out in the second half and showed why many people feel it will be the favorite in the Central California Conference.
Roger Klauser hit two 3-pointers to start the third quarter to pull the Thunder within 36-35.
Kimball (1-2) stretched the lead back out to 47-36 with three straight 3-pointers of its own. Alex Toledo made three of his four treys during the run.
Buhach Colony answered with a 15-0 run with five different players scoring.
John Zaragoza and Steven Hillyer started the spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Klauser (11 points), Verdin and Joe Marquez (14 points) all scored during the run that gave Buhach Colony a 51-47 lead.
Kimball rebounded to take a 55-53 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Thunder went to Verdin down low in the fourth quarter.
The center responded with 14 fourth-quarter points to help pull away from the Jaguars. Many of his points set up by some nifty dribbling and passing by Marquez.
"He had great touch around the rim," Bliss said. "He finished strong. He caught everything. He definitely did a lot of positive things around the basket."