Modesto Christian High seniors Anthony Pratt and Derek Evans, playing their final regular-season game in the Crusaders’ gym, combined for 43 points to rout Hughson 85-32 and clinch the outright Trans-Valley League championship.
MC (22-4, 11-0), which closes the regular season Friday at Escalon, can clinch the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 power ratings by winning that game. Right behind MC is Summerville (22-4, 13-1), which beat Bret Harte Tuesday to clinch the outright Mother Lode League title, can secure the No. 2 seed by beating last-place Linden.
Pratt dominated inside with 22 points, while Evans scored 21 by slashing to the basket and hitting perimeter shots. The Crusaders, who have won 11 consecutive section titles across three divisions, outscored Hughson 34-11 in the third quarter for a 73-29 lead. Hughson’s Martell Simon scored 26, hitting seven 3-pointers.
HILMAR 54, ESCALON 52, at Escalon – The underdog Yellowjackets (12-13, 6-6), playing the last regular-season and facing a win-or-stay-home scenario, stunned the Cougars (18-8, 7-4) in overtime to deny Escalon a share of second place with Ripon (15-11, 8-3). Trent Goiburn (19 points) and Daniel Greenleaf (13) led the ‘Jackets, who overcame a sharp shooting night from Gino Franceschetti (12 points, four treys).
Hilmar was the No. 17 seed going into the game, behind No. 16 Bret Harte and No. 15 Le Grand – Bret Harte lost Tuesday and is an underdog to Calaveras Friday, while Le Grand won Tuesday but is an underdog to Mariposa Friday.
RIPON CHR. 81, DELHI 65, at Ripon – The Knights (22-5, 13-0, the SL title already in hand and eager to hold onto the top seed in the D5 playoffs, allowed the Hawks (7-19, 3-10) to get within five points before pulling away. Delhi got within 54-49 on Guillermo Ramirez’s trey in the third quarter, but Josh Van Groningen hit two consecutive shots to trigger a game-deciding run.
Sophomore guard Dan Vos scored 19 points, with 15 points coming on treys, while senior brother Logan Vos scored 16.
MARIPOSA 89, TURLOCK CHR. 79, at Mariposa – Ian Merzwinski scored 21 points and the Grizzlies (16-10, 10-3) pulled away with a 22-12 third quarter to top the Eagles (9-16, 1-12), despite a 37-point effort from Brandon Rogers.
DENAIR 65, GUSTINE 47, at Denair – The Coyotes (17-9, 9-4), led by Clayton McDonald (q19 points), jumped to a 24-10 lead after a quarter to beat the Redskins (10-16, 6-7) and stay a spot ahead of Mariposa in the power ratings. Denair was No. 10 and Mariposa No. 11 going into the week, and the two teams ahead of them both lost Tuesday.
With the right scenario Friday night – a Denair win over Delhi and an Escalon loss to top-seeded Modesto Christian – the Coyotes could jump into the No. 8 slot for a home opener.
Colby Wooten and Tevor Werner scored 10 apiece for Denair.