RIPON — Christian Williams had a math final Wednesday and today will be taking an English Literature exam.
Between those two classroom events, Williams had time for a test on the basketball court — one he passed with flying colors.
The Sierra High senior guard breezed through a 34-point evening as the Timberwolves aced Ripon 64-52 in a nonleague basketball game.
"The bell rings at 2:25 and after that it's all basketball," Williams said. "It's tough before that.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
"Coach T keeps on us and we have study halls to make sure we're where we need to be."
Coach T is Scott Thomason, who is using the preseason to find the right balance between his talented senior and a solid supporting cast.
"He's an unselfish superstar," Thomason said. "He understands that he has to get his teammates the ball but he also understands that it will be up to him to take the game over sometimes. He's doing a good job of that."
Williams took control of the game from the outset, scoring 13 and assisting on a 3-point play as Sierra (3-3) ran to an 18-8 lead after one quarter.
The host Indians (3-5) started sluggishly, and despite getting 14 points from Ryan Baker, 13 inside from Ryan Alexander and 10 from Matt Ratto, never really got back in the game.
If it's possible for a high school player to have a quiet 34 points, that was Williams' night. The point guard created his own shots at will, despite some solid on-ball pressure from Ripon defenders.
"He had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against Golden Valley the other night and he didn't play well," Thomason said. "We had to talk about that, but I guess it's a good problem to have. He's a special player and he's showing great leadership."
And from Williams' standpoint it's much more important to get teammates involved in the game and win than having to add up his point total at the end of the game.
"I could have had more tonight," Williams said. "I missed a couple gimmies and I was trying to find my teammates. We're getting there. We're still trying to find that team chemistry."
Chemistry? For Williams, that's a final for another day.
Tracy Winter Holiday Tournament
BUHACH COLONY 72, MODESTO 62 — The Thunder (7-2) began the fourth quarter with an 8-0 burst to open a 59-39 lead, then held on down the stretch against the Panthers (3-5). Denzel Brown scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth for Buhach.
The Thunder was without starting shooting guard Tanner Gleason, who suffered torn ligaments in his elbow during Monday's practice and is expected out for three weeks.
Daniel Bolsar started in his place and scored three points. Jordan Banks led Modesto with 26. The two teams combined to shoot 21 of 49 (43 percent) from the free-throw line.
LIVINGSTON 76, WESTON RANCH 71 — Johal Harnarinder made 8 of his 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and Brian Rivera scored nine of his 27 as the Tigers pulled away in the final period against the Cougars (3-4).
Harnarinder (18 points) forced Weston Ranch to commit fouls by getting in the paint, while Rivera scored from the perimeter, making five 3-pointers in the game.
Weston Ranch committed 30 turnovers in the game.
"We're still making young mistakes," said Cougars coach Ryan Bono, who has just four seniors.
MANTECA 81, FRANKLIN 46 — Nick Scheible scored 17 points and Kiwi Gardner followed with 16 as the Buffaloes improved to 8-1 with a first-round win.
TRACY 66, JOHANSEN 53 — The Vikings were bumped into the consolation bracket despite a 19-point effort from Jacob Guzman.
The Bulldogs contained Johansen's other players and had three of their own in double figures.
ORESTIMBA 82, WATERFORD 54, at Waterford — The Warriors remained undefeated thanks to four players reaching double-digit point totals. Craig Beevers led Orestimba (8-0) with 20 points, followed by Tyler Brazil's 19.
C.J. DeDeaux paced the Wildcats with 14 points and Kyle Masterson added 13.
Le GRAND 81, WASH. UNION 54, at Le Grand — Jennifer Hansen scored 18 of her 26 points in the first half to get the Bulldogs (7-0) going. Miranda Flores took change in the second half with 15 of her 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
BIG VALLEY CHR. 37, TIOGA 31, at Tioga — Megan Palmer scored 17 points to lead the Lions to a narrow victory. Brittany Miller added 12 points for Big Valley Christian (2-8).
The Bee sports staff contributed to this report.