ATWATER — Joe Marquez feels he doesn't quite have his basketball legs back just yet after making the switch from football.
It's a scary thought for anyone who watched him put on a show Friday night.
The Buhach Colony High senior scored 23 points as the Thunder cruised to an 82-59 win over Gregori in the semifinals of the Save Mart Classic boys basketball tournament.
Buhach Colony (3-0) will face Escalon, which knocked off Atwater 59-56 on Friday, in today's championship game at Buhach Colony at 3:30 p.m.
"I'm getting there," Marquez said. "Really just coming together as a team, getting the chemistry with everybody is the toughest part. We're starting to gel."
Marquez scored in a variety of ways. He started the game by draining two 3-pointers. With defenders forced to come out and guard him, he blew by for easy baskets or set up his teammates. He also scored in transition, including a smooth layup where he brought the ball behind his back while he took two steps to the basket.
"I put up shots during football season as much as I could," said Marquez, who was named the Central California Conference MVP this fall after playing quarterback and defensive back for the Thunder. "I didn't want to get too far from the game."
The Thunder assaulted the Jaguars (3-5) from the start as the Buhach Colony first unit opened the game with a 17-7 run.
Kaden Verdin scored six early points for the Thunder. Roger Klauser hit a trey as Buhach Colony took control of the game right away.
With 3 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first quarter, Buhach Colony coach John Bliss brought five new players into the game and they kept up the pressure and quick tempo.
"I thought this was the best we've played this year," Bliss said.
"Defensively, we did a better job of staying in front of the ball. We got contributions from quite a few guys. We had a lot of guys rebounding, taking charges and diving on the floor.
Verdin finished with 12 points. Aaron Cochran added eight points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Manteca 62, Livingston 59 (OT)
ATWATER -- Miguel Lopez nailed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left in overtime to lift the Buffaloes to a win.
Brian Perez paced the Wolves with 22 points.