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Yuba men breeze past West Hills in playoff opener
It took a playoff opener to finally fill the stands at Yuba College's new gymnasium — no one was disappointed.
The 49ers men's basketball team ended the first half on a 30-6 run, finished with 16 3-pointers and routed West Hills College 98-58 in the second round of the NorCal Regionals on Saturday.
Doug Cornelius is even sometimes wowed.
"I didn't expect that," Yuba's coach said following the win. "It's kind of like, pick your poison with this team. We have good post players, great guards. I mean, if you key in on one, the other is going to beat you."
Which is exactly what unfolded at the 10-minute mark of the first half. That, a full-court press that caused West Hills to buckle and a spark off the bench.
Let the run begin.
Yuba City High grad Tyler Fry entered the game, drained a quick 3-pointer, stole the ball and spit out a nifty assist inside to Kevin Crabb in a matter of 2 minutes.
The 3-pointers began to rain — Yuba finished 8 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half — as Spencer Butterfield found Cody Kale, Kale returned the favor on the ensuing possession and then Butterfield struck again the third time up the court with 6 minutes to go.
Big man Caleb Johnson (6-foot-9) even got in on the fun and drained a trey on the next possession.
Johnson and De'Aundray Robinson controlled the paint with athleticism, Anto Olah's hustle and strength were far too much for West Hills and Crabb's ability to dissect the defense was on full display.
"Johnson played his butt off tonight," Cornelius said. "And Robinson is just better when he starts. I mean, I could start any two of my four guys in the post on any night."
With 4 minutes left in the half, it was 42-21, and the Falcons never recovered.
In fact, things just got worse in the second half for West Hills (16-13).
Anthony Romero began the second frame the same way Yuba finished the first half and drained a triple from the corner.
It was matched, however, by Darius Gordon, who finished with a game-high 25 points. He and Michael Balogun combined for 41 of the Falcons' total. In contrast, Yuba turned out a balanced score sheet. Nine players recorded anywhere from seven to 16 points. Butterfield led the 49ers with 16, Romero followed with 15 and Kale had 12.
Achoki Moikobu poured salt in the wound with back-to-back 3-pointers with 11 minutes remaining to give Yuba a 35-point lead. The 49ers would lead by as many as 45.
Moikobu and Olah finished with 11 points each, while Johnson, who also helped give Yuba a 3 to 1 rebounding advantage, had nine points.
The 49ers, who improved to 30-3, will host a tough No. 7 Los Positas (22-7) team on Wednesday in the second round.
"Things change dramatically next week," Cornelius said.