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Merced sinks Pitman

Marcus Knott's postgame cookie tasted a lot better on Friday night.

The Merced boys basketball coach watched his team play focused, unselfish and fast.

It also helped that the shots were falling from anywhere on the newly named Clemons Court as Merced cruised past Pitman 94-68 on Friday night.

"It was nice," said Knott, whose team remained atop the Central California Conference standings at 6-1.

"It's been a long time since we actually shot the ball well. It helped that we took good shots.

"Our guys did a good job of penetrating and finding the open man. I thought we played unselfish and that was good to see."

It was a special night as Merced officially named the floor Clemons Court in honor of former basketball coach Vince Clemons during a pregame ceremony.

Merced also handed out Sac-Joaquin Section championship rings to the boys soccer team at halftime.

Knott's boys put on a show early.

Allen Huddleston came out on fire, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the

first quarter.

Huddleston hit four of his six 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the game.

"The last time against Pitman we jumped out to a lead and let them come back," Huddleston said.

"This time we wanted to come out and play hard for 32 minutes and we did. We got after it."

Huddleston and company opened up a 27-16 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Reggie Nelson came off the bench and helped Merced extend the lead in the second quarter.

The junior guard scored 10 of his 15 points in the quarter, attacking the basket and hitting the boards.

"I've been slumping the last couple games," Nelson said. "It's a mental thing.

"I'm trying to get used to playing with Allen. He's a superstar and I have a lot of respect for him.

"I like starting inside and going out. When I go inside everything else comes to me."

Huddleston wasn't the only one nailing 3-pointers.

Merced sank 11 treys, including two from Otis Caery (10 points).

Edgar Lopez hit four 3-pointers on his way to scoring 22 points for Pitman (4-3 CCC, 16-5 overall).

Teammate Dominic Romeo also scored 22.

"I think our guys responded well after we didn't really play defense the way we should the last couple games," Knott said.

"There was better effort in practice (Thursday) and that carried over to the game.

"They were focused and prepared well before the game and it showed on the court."

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

MERCED 94, PITMAN 68

At Merced

Pitman 16 11 20 19 -- 68

Merced 27 18 26 23 -- 94

PITMAN -- Robert Beale 2, Chase Torba 3, Jaspreet Bassi 12, Sam Baker 3, Edgar Lopez 22, Dominic Romeo 22, Amar Randhawa 4. Totals: 26 7-14 68.

MERCED -- Otis Caery 10, Ronnie Dunham 4, Benard Bolden 7, Bobby Salinas 3, Reggie nelson 15, Eddie Beavers 8, Allen Huddleston 30, Marques Barron 4, Tynan Pedretti 2, Patrick Franey 9. Totals: 33 15-18 94.

3-pointers: Pitman 7 (Lopez 4,Bassi 2, Baker 1), Merced 11 (Huddleston 6, Caery 2, Salinas 1, Bolden 1, Franey 1); Team Fouls: Pitman 15, Merced 14; Fouled Out -- None.

Records: Pitman 5-2 CCC, 16-5 overall; Merced 6-1, 13-8.

JV -- Merced won 70-62.

Freshmen -- Merced won.

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