Dalton Rockwood’s Mariposa High teammates had a lot of fun at his expense on Wednesday night.
The junior had two dunk attempts during the Grizzlies’ 85-31 first-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division V basketball playoff victory over Hughes Academy. The second one was successful, the first a little less so.
The grief extended to Rockwood was equal for both, with Jadin Battles offering a choke sign from the bench and Rockwood’s brother, Noah, calling for a travel on the second. It was the kind of night where the jokes and smiles flowed freely as the No. 3 Grizzlies jumped on an inexperienced Titans team early and never allowed them into the game.
Mariposa will host No. 11 Delta Charter in a quarterfinal game on Friday, after it upset No. 6 Millennium 42-41.
“We’re a group that’s played together for a really long time and really enjoy each other,” said Rockwood, who finished with a team-high 13 points. “We missed out on the chance to play at home last year, so we really wanted to make the most of it.
“Our coach is always telling us we can’t play down to our competition, so it was important to play well from the beginning. We only scored 37 points in the playoffs last year, so to have 53 at halftime was a good feeling.”
The Grizzlies (23-5) used their full-court press to force eight Hughes turnovers in the game’s first four minutes and open up with a 22-2 run.
Battles took advantage of an undersized Hughes interior, scoring seven of his 12 points in the opening quarter, while Bradley Chambers added six.
Mariposa maintained its intensity in the second quarter, forcing 12 more turnovers and attacking the Hughes basket at will. Kama’Re Bailey scored 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter to help send the Grizzlies into halftime with a commanding 53-10 lead.
“I was very pleased with the intensity we came out with,” Mariposa coach Corey Edmiston said. “I thought we executed well for the most part. It’s going to have to be a little cleaner if we’re going to continue to move on, but I was pleased with the effort.
“We were able to rest a lot of guys and able to get a lot of bench guys minutes, including some JV callups.”
The Grizzlies didn’t lose much going to their bench as Zack Smith scored eight of his team-high 13 points after the break.
Thirteen different players scored for Mariposa.
Daawuud Lewis paced Hughes Academy (9-13) with 12 points.
No. 5 Argonaut 73, No. 12 Le Grand 49 in Jackson – Sergio Gomez (11 points) and Beto Marquez (11) each hit three three-pointers as the Bulldogs (8-13) took a 31-29 lead into the break.
The upset bid didn’t last, however, as Le Grand went cold in the second half and was outscored 44-18 the rest of the way.
Sun-Star staff writer Sean Lynch can be reached at (209) 385-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.