COLUMBIA -- Resuming one's basketball season three days after Christmas, after all that holiday food and good cheer, can become an adventure.
For the Sonora High boys team, the restart proved to be no problem. For Modesto, issues.
Sonora began the Robert Dominik Fuchs Memorial Holiday Classic on Monday night with stiff man-to-man defense and crisp offense. The Wildcats rattled in the first 10 points, a run that left Modesto chasing the rest of the game, resulting in a 57-43 loss.
"I think we were still on break," Modesto coach Don Wallace said. "When we decided to play, it was a ballgame."
Sonora (6-3) doesn't make it so elementary. It's coached by the veteran Rick Francis, who preaches defense and fundamentals and, performing within close proximity to home under the geodesic dome of Columbia College's Oak Pavilion, the Wildcats controlled the game down to their liking.
Sonora patrolled the paint over the shorter Panthers (6-10) with 6-foot-5 rebounder Zach Gorgas and 6-8 post man Eric Sutton. Even more effective was junior wing Alex Kiriluk, who dented the Modesto pressure inside and outside for 24 points. Sonora pushed its advantage to 30-14 at halftime and to 48-29 during the third period.
"Modesto is a very athletic team, but I think we controlled the tempo," Francis said. "If we're going to have any success, we've got to take care of the ball."
Modesto's DeAngelo Williams and Jordan Banks, working hard and forcing the action late in the game, finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 54, DOWNEY 29, Dusty Killian overpowered the Knights (1-10) near the basket for 18 points as the Raiders (7-3) pulled away during the second quarter. Randiavon Estrada paced Downey with 12 points.
SIERRA 66, SUMMERVILLE 54 The defending champion Timberwolves (6-3) bolted from a nine-point halftime deficit en route to their fourth straight win.
William Ward, a promising 6-4 sophomore, finished with 22 points, eight during the 17-3 Sierra explosion in the third quarter, and senior teammate Trevor Nogueira closed strong in the fourth quarter for 20 points.
Summerville (3-6) started fast behind Tige Wingo (15 points) and Jarred English (13), who were responsible for the Bears' 40-31 halftime advantage.
"We always take three days off for Christmas and I always dread Dec. 26 when we come back," Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. "We just talked about effort and playing hard (at halftime)."
GOLDEN VALLEY 76, CHAVEZ 49 The Cougars (7-5) used a full-court press to build an early lead and set up today's semifinal game against Sonora. Trek Fayerweather of GV topped all scorers with 21 points, Rob Martinez had 13 and Justin Wooten 12. Thomas Wallace led Chavez (5-7) with 11.