Gerald Braxton sparked a third-quarter run that saw the Buhach Colony High boys basketball team score the first 12 points of the third quarter as the Thunder avoided an 0-3 start in conference play with a 61-52 win on Clemons Court at Merced High on Friday night.
The 6-foot-4 Braxton was tough to stop inside for the smaller Bears all night. The Junior center scored six of his 14 points during the run that helped the Thunder (10-9, 1-2 Central California Conference) erase a one-point deficit. Buhach Colony extended the lead to as much as 14 points at 45-31 with 1 minute and 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Bears fought back in the fourth quarter to close within 50-46 with 3:53 left after a pair of free throws from Dhameer Warren. The Merced senior finished with a game-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Buhach Colony was able to close the game out from the free-throw line, making seven of eight shots from the charity stripe in the final 64 seconds.
Jake Abrams finished with a team-high 16 points and Anoop Nagra added 13 points.
Kortez Tyler scored 12 points for Merced, which dropped to 7-12 this season overall and 1-2 in the CCC.
El Capitan 69, Atwater 60 in Atwater – The Gauchos won their third consecutive game as they held off a late Falcons charge to improve to 14-5 overall and 3-1 in the CCC.
Robert Smid led Atwater (8-10, 1-2 CCC) with a career-high 29 points. Richard DeLaRosa added 12 points and Jaylen Allison scored 10 for the Falcons.
Escalon 59, Livingston 49 in Livingston – The Wolves struggled to score, making just 11 of 85 shots from the floor in a loss to the Cougars. Livingston made just 4 of 32 shots from beyond the three-point line.
Carlos Chavez led the Wolves (9-11, 1-3 Trans-Valley League) in scoring with 12 and Raheim Sims chipped in with 10 points.