The Kimball High boys basketball team brought their home crowd a 71-49 win over Oakdale on Friday.
It was a fitting statement for the school’s “Swoosh Bam” spirit celebration, and it keeps the Jaguars in the running for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs with three games left in the Valley Oak League season.
Kimball (15-9, 5-6 VOL) holds fifth place in the league and needs to be among the top three VOL teams in order to make playoffs. Kimball now needs wins on Wednesday at Sonora, Friday at home against Lathrop, and Feb. 18 at Weston Ranch.
“Lathrop and Weston Ranch are two of the teams that are ahead of us (in the VOL standings) so we get to play them again,” Kimball coach Joe Lawrence said, adding that both teams also play first-place Sierra, undefeated in VOL play so far, which could work in Kimball’s favor.
Players said Friday’s win shows that the Jaguars are ready to take control of their own destiny going into the last two weeks of the regular season.
“We knew we had to win this game to make the playoffs,” senior guard Jonah Laguana said. “We had our (Swoosh Bam) rally today, which really got us hyped up for the win.”
He added that as long as Kimball can keep sinking its outside shots the Jaguars will get the wins they need.
“Our shots are really falling. We’re shooting a higher percentage from the (3-point line) and knocking shots down.”
The Jaguars asserted themselves early against Oakdale (7-15, 4-7 VOL) as Laguana and senior J.D. Schmidt led an offensive drive that put Kimball up 24-9 at the end of the first quarter. Kimball was consistent on defense too and outrebounded Oakdale all night, with Schmidt the leading rebounder with nine boards.
The Kimball defenders, including the backup players who came in midway through the fourth quarter, clamped down at the end and held the Mustangs to just one field goal in the final frame.
Senior Ben Juarez led the Kimball offense with 16 points, Schmidt and junior Jhordin Mellion scored 12 each and Laguana scored 10.
“We had to come back and get this one so we could get on the road and make the playoffs,” Juarez said.
“Sometimes we start off a little slow. I knew we couldn’t start off slow against this team.”
St. Mary’s 81, West 63
The battle for first-place in the Tri-City Athletic League went in favor of St. Mary’s on Friday in Stockton as the league-leading Rams (24-1, 8-0 TCAL) dealt the second-place Wolf Pack (17-8, 6-2 TCAL) an 81-63 loss.
West senior Alvin Crenshaw scored 24 points for the Pack, senior Kenneth Daye scored 15 and senior Kenneth Thompson scored 10. Top scorer for the night was St. Mary’s senior Gabriel Vincent, who scored 33 points.
West already has a lock on a playoff spot, and needs wins at home against Edison on Wednesday and Stagg on Friday for a favorable seed going into the first round of the SJS Division I bracket.
Millennium 47, Big Valley Christian 43
The Falcons came back from a slow first quarter and held on to their lead through the second half in a 47-43 win at Big Valley Christian in Modesto.
Senior Derritt Scarver led the Falcons (8-14, 3-4 Central California Athletic Alliance) with 15 points and 11 rebounds and junior Izaiah Williams scored nine points. Big Valley Christian falls to 1-6, 8-10 in the CCAA.
Millennium has three games left in the race to be among the top three CCAA teams that go to the SJS Division V playoffs, including Brookside Christian in Stockton on Tuesday, Stone Ridge Christian in Merced on Friday and Sierra Ridge/Rite of Passage on Feb. 18 at Kimball High.
Lincoln 72, Tracy 60
Tracy was denied a chance to move up in the San Joaquin Athletic Association standings on Friday with the Bulldogs’ 72-60 loss at home to Lincoln High of Stockton. Details of Friday’s game were not available.
The loss puts Tracy (12-10, 4-4 SJAA) in a tie for third place in league with Chavez. Lincoln (11-13, 6-2 SJAA) is tied for first with Bear Creek. The top three SJAA teams go to playoffs.
The outcome makes Tracy’s last two games of the league season – Wednesday at Chavez, and Friday at home against Bear Creek – must-wins if the Bulldogs are to make the SJS Division II playoffs.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.