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And then there was one... Merced boys remain perfect in CCC

LOS BANOS -- Allen Huddleston rarely appears indecisive with the basketball.

The Merced standout had one of those moments Friday night in Los Banos.

Huddleston had visions of a slam dunk in his mind on a breakaway when suddenly...

He heard his name called by his cousin Jarrett Sparks.

Sparks was wide open and wanted to throw down a jam of his own.

"I heard him yell my name, but by the time I saw him, it was too late because there was a defender there," Huddleston said.

By then it was too late for Huddleston to dunk, so he settled for a layup, drew a foul and turned it into a three-point play.

That's just about how the night went for the Merced boys basketball team in a ho-hum 75-54 victory.

Huddleston and his mates did just about whatever they wanted against Los Banos.

Merced closed the first quarter with a 16-5 run to open up a 10-point lead.

Merced built the lead to 27 points heading into the fourth quarter.

"It was a solid performance," said Merced coach Marcus Knott, whose team won its fifth straight to improve to 3-0 in the Central California Conference and 11-7 overall.

"That's what we needed playing on the road. It doesn't always have to look spectacular."

Huddleston put on a scoring display with 13 of his 23 points coming in the third quarter -- including a couple of shots he seemed to launch from somewhere near Dos Palos.

Huddleston scored the final eight points of the third quarter himself, including the three-point play that had Sparks (15 points) shaking his head and laughing.

"You really can't blame the defender when he's hitting shots five feet behind the 3-point line," said LB coach Joe Barcellos, whose team dropped to 2-1 in the CCC.

"We told our guys to keep him in front of them. He was in front of them."

Merced will face a team undefeated in the CCC for the third time in three games next Wednesday when it travels to Turlock (2-0 CCC).

Central California Conference


At Los Banos

Merced 18 15 26 16 -- 75

Los Banos 8 11 13 22 -- 54

MERCED -- Bobby Salinas 2, Eddie Beavers 4, Johnny Chanthola 3, Allen Huddleston 23, Kenny Cooper 8, Jarrett Sparks 15, Matt Akers 2, Patrick Franey 8, Bernard Bolden 2, Kameron Huddleston 6. Totals: 30 4-6 75.

LOS BANOS -- Steven Lowe 4, Phillip Etcheverry 16, Joshua Rubio 2, Nick Gutierrez 6, Tony Faria 9, Adnrae Jones 10, Josh Bourbon 10, Greg Blackmon 2, Tony Jones 3. Totals: 18 10-21 54.

3-pointers: Merced 7 (A. Huddleston 4, Sparks 2, Chanthola 1); Los Banos 8 (Etcheverry 3, Faria 2, A. Jones 2, Lowe 1); Team Fouls: Merced 16; Los Banos 6; Fouled Out: None.

Records: Merced 3-0, 11-7; Los Banos 2-1, 13-6.

JV -- Merced won, 52-37.