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YC on top of mountain
Honkers perfect in TCC
In a matchup of the top two teams in the Tri-County Conference, the Yuba City High boys basketball team used a smothering defense to turn back visiting Woodland, 65-44, at Honker Gym on Thursday night.
With the win, the Honkers (13-5, 6-0) opened a two-game lead over the Wolves (13-5, 4-2) and the rest of the TCC.
"That was a big win," said Yuba City junior guard Tyler Fry, who scored 14 points to lead the Honkers along with Mundeep Purewal. "This gives us a lot of momentum for the rest of the season. It's all downhill from here."
Heading into the game, Fry and Honkers coach Brad McIntire believed it would be a close battle between two solid teams. That never materialized after Yuba City went on a 14-3 run in the last five minutes of the first quarter to stake a 20-7 lead heading into the second period.
Yuba City upped its lead to 33-18 at halftime and carried a 45-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Honkers used a 9-2 lead at the start of the final stanza to open a 20-point bulge, 52-34, with 5:26 left in the game.
"They didn't shoot the ball well," McIntire said of the Wolves, but said the Honkers' defensive pressure was a big reason for that. "We were in everyone's face. They did not have an open shot. I told our kids they needed to contest every shot."
The defense caused Woodland to miss a lot of shots, as well throw up numerous "air balls" to the delight of a boisterous Honker student body. The Wolves finished the game hitting just 17-of-52 shots from the field.
"I thought we shot the ball pretty well," McIntire said, "although we did hit that little lull."
The Honkers went 22-for-63 from the field.
Yuba City also dominated on the boards. The Honkers held Woodland to just two offensive rebounds in the second half and finished with an overall 37-28 edge on the boards.
It was the defense, though, that came through, along with a trio of unsung heroes.
"Tonight, we needed some guys to step up for us who have not been asked to the entire season," McIntire said.
Junior Jordan Wilkinson and seniors Zach Larsen and Ram Singh all did a stellar job defensively in the post, McIntire said, filling in for missing center Brock Della-Rocco. Larsen and Singh also scored six points each.
"We played real well as a team," McIntire said. "We were making the extra pass. The guys are starting to feel comfortable with each other now."
Kevin Noall finished in double figures with 12. Fry led the team in rebounding with nine and recorded three steals and four assists.
The Honkers also were nails from the free throw line, going 19-for-22.
While Yuba City enjoys a two-game lead in the TCC, McIntire said the Honkers have two tough games on the road next week: at Natomas (11-6, 4-2) on Tuesday and at Inderkum (12-7, 4-3) on Thursday.
"And then we have to turn around and play Woodland again on (Jan. 26), for three straight on the road," McIntire added.
Contact Appeal-Democrat sports reporter Richard Myers at 749-4714 or email@example.com.