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Basketball coach strives for versatility

Merced boys basketball coach Marcus Knott said it's essential to be versatile in the playoffs.

After struggling to adjust to Modesto's 2-3 zone for most of the middle two quarters in Friday night's CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I first-round playoff victory, Merced flipped things on their guests.

Just as Merced began to break Modesto down offensively -- by playing through the high post -- Knott's team came out with a 2-3 zone of its own.

The result was offensive chaos for Modesto.

"We don't play a lot of 2-3 zone, so I don't think they expected it," Knott said. "You need to have a couple tricks in your playbook.

"When things aren't working, it's important to be able to go to something else."

Mistaken Identity

During a stoppage of play early in the first quarter, referee Brett Silveira came over to the Merced bench to have a chat with assistant coach Curtis Barron.

Silveira was confused why Knott kept leaving the bench.

"He really is the coach," Silveira said to Barron. "For two years I thought it was you."

They Said It

"I thought Merced made a great adjustment at halftime," Atwater boys basketball coach John Kane said. "They slowed the zone down and got the ball in to the high post.

"I thought (Kenny) Cooper did a great job of attacking the basket from there.

"It was the best game I've seen him play."

"We finally get out of the first round," said Merced College women's basketball coach Allen Huddleston and father of Merced High star Allen Jr.

"This week was great for the mind," Cooper said of Merced having Presidents' week off.

"School can be stressful, so it was nice to just focus on basketball."