High School Basketball: Knights compete like game counts

Monday night's boys basketball game between Ceres and Downey High Schools didn't mean much in the big picture.

But don't tell that to the Knights.

"Foundation Game or not, we've all got competitors' attitudes," said Downey guard Brett Butler. "It could be played anywhere, you still want to win."

All of Monday's games were Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Games. Half of the gate went to the section's Dale Lacky Scholarship Fund, and the games don't count in the standings.

Even though it's early in the season, each team had its moments.

The Knights burned the Bulldogs defense several times thanks to their motion offense. Nick O'Brien scored a team-high 15 points with quick mid-range jumpers and a couple of offensive putbacks. Every time O'Brien found a hole in the Ceres defense, one of his teammates got him the ball.

And Ceres senior Brett Sayad scored a game-high 19 points to keep his team in the game. Sayad had two resounding dunks after steals, and he also made a 3-pointer.

But the Knights' superior depth led the way.

Booker Hinton scored 12 points for Downey, while three teammates -- Yuji Williams, Joe Hardee and Butler -- all had 11.

"Winning a game like this helps you build," Butler said. "You want to get as much momentum as you can early.

"We feel it's a promising season. We're excited."

Ceres coach Jason Martin knows his team's going to experience some growing pains -- it includes two sophomores and several juniors in key roles.

Sayad, the team's best player, is one of a handful of seniors.

"It's going to take some time for us to get going," he said. "But you could see it out there; we had our moments, too."

Martin said this performance was batter than the Bulldogs' season opener, a 70-46 loss to Turlock.

"We improved from last game, I'll take that," Martin said. "Hopefully, we're going to keep improving."

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at or 578-2300.