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Ball movement guides MC

SALIDA -- The members of the Modesto Christian High girls basketball team passed the ball around the perimeter as if it were on a string.

Inside and out. Swing to the baseline and back. And nearly every time, it led to a Crusaders player getting a layup.

"When we start finishing those layups, the sky's the limit," MC coach Robb Spencer said.

The Crusaders missed their share Saturday night, but they didn't matter in Modesto Christian's 75-37 victory over Will C. Wood of Vacaville in the Modesto Christian MLK Classic.

"We talk so much about ball movement," Spencer said. "And this was probably our best game of the season with regards to how we passed the ball.

"When we're playing like that, it's beautiful to watch."

Junior guard Brandi Henton scored 23 points and had six steals to lead the Crusaders. Teammates Danielle Thompson and Lauren Lucchesi each chipped in with double-doubles. Thompson had 13 points and 14 rebounds and Lucchesi recorded 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Henton said the ball movement works so well because the Crusaders are versatile.

"We've got a lot of players who can do just about anything out there," she said. "We're all fast, and we all look for each other."

The Crusaders have a tough game in two weeks, when they play at nationally-ranked St. Mary's of Stockton on Jan. 30.

"We've got a lot of (Trans-Valley League) games before then," Henton said. "But the St. Mary's game is going to be big. We're all looking forward to that one."

MODESTO 56, BRET HARTE 41 -- Jessica Rodriguez was all over the court for the Panthers, scoring 19 points in leading Modesto to the victory over the Bullfrogs. Kelsey Lemansney also hit double figures for Modesto, scoring 10 points.

Kelli Carlon led Bret Harte with nine points, all of them coming off a 9-for-10 performance from the free-throw line.

VANDEN 81, LE GRAND 32 -- The Bulldogs were outmatched by the more athletic Vikings from the opening tip. Le Grand stayed within 20-11 after the first quarter, but a 34-3 Vanden run in the second quarter virtually sealed the victory.

Bulldogs standout guard Jennifer Hansen -- the only senior on the Le Grand roster -- scored 21 points.

VACAVILLE CHRISTIAN 53, JOHANSEN 29 -- The Vikings got 10 points from forward Alex Cariker, but they weren't enough as the Falcons rolled to the victory.

Johansen was within striking distance at halftime, only down 24-17. But Vacaville Christian outscored the Vikings 21-8 in the third quarter and cruised from there.

Ashleigh Robinson made two 3-pointers for Johansen.

CLOVIS EAST 66, EDISON 37 -- Erikka Banks scored 28 points, 20 of them coming in the first half, as the Timberwolves rolled past the Vikings.

Boys

MODESTO CHRISTIAN 91, JOHANSEN 55 -- Jimmy Escudero scored 23 points, including five 3-pointers, and Johnny Hutton had 22 as the Crusaders rolled past the Vikings. Junior guard Dakarai King led Johansen with 19 points.

UCLA-bound forward Reeves Nelson didn't play his second consecutive game for MC. Crusaders coach Gary Porter said he was out because of a tender knee. Nelson had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the fall.

BRET HARTE 67, VACAVILLE CHRISTIAN 54 -- Tim Minton and Will Finn each scored 26 points as the Bullfrogs stopped the Falcons.

The 6-foot-3-inch Minton did his damage on the inside, making nine field goals and going 8 for 11 from the free-throw line.

Finn, meanwhile, scored from the perimeter, hitting all five of Bret Harte's 3-pointers.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or call 578-2300.

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