All three local teams advanced in the Tracy/West Winter Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament on Thursday, assuring that at least one among Kimball, Tracy and West will play for the tournament championship.
Also advancing is East Union High of Manteca with a 69-43 win over Castlemont of Oakland.
Games continue Friday afternoon at West and Tracy high schools, with games at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Kimball 69, Buhach Colony 45
The Jaguars (6-3) jumped out to an early lead against the Buhach Colony Thunder (0-9) on Thursday at Tracy High. Junior Noel Oli and senior Peter Van Katwyk led Kimball’s first half attack as the Jaguars took a 36-15 halftime lead. Buhach Colony made its shots in the second half, but not enough to catch up.
“We ran the floor really well,” senior center Josh Carpenter said. “We completely dominated them in terms of fast break points, and that was our advantage.”
Van Katwyk and Carpenter led the Jaguar offense with 13 points each, and Oli scored 10.
Kimball coach Justin Gregory said the game was a chance to mix up his lineup to see which players work best together.
“I think we’re finally coming together a little bit with chemistry, still trying to figure out some rotations,” he said. “We still need to work more as a defensive unit, get rid of the silly habits of reaching and fouling.”
West 72, Lathrop 57
West senior Elijah Tuando was on target with his outside shots on Thursday, nailing three of his five 3-point shots in the first quarter as West took a 17-7 first quarter lead over Lathrop. Lathrop got back in the game in the second quarter and cut West’s lead to 33-28 at the half.
The Wolf Pack rallied again in the third, again with Tuando, who totaled 27 points for the night, leading the way. West was up by 20 points midway through in the fourth quarter when the Wolf Pack’s backup players came in to finish the game.
West senior Demauriea Williams added 11 points for the Pack and nearly everyone on the West roster scored.
“We just came out of two rough tournaments so we knew we were going to go hard tonight,” Tuando said, adding that the win will build confidence for Friday’s and Saturday’s games. “We’ll for sure be coming out looking a lot better.”
West coach Derek Sprecksel said the things the team did in the second half to extend its lead need to continue if West wants to repeat as tournament champion.
“Defending the perimeter is going to be important to us, staying out of foul trouble, rebounding and limiting turnovers,” he said. “Those are the constant themes.”
Tracy 74, Pacheco 36
The Bulldogs claimed a decisive win over Pacheco, starting with a 45-15 first-half lead, which was enough to stay dominant through the second half even as the teams played a close game in the third and fourth quarters.
Tracy coach Junior Cueva said that the challenge for the Bulldogs now is to incorporate the players who joined the team last week after the football season concluded.
“With the small lineup we clicked pretty well,” he said, adding that he’s looking for teamwork, which he saw on Thursday.
“We came out today and shared the ball pretty well,” he said. “More than anything it’s a chemistry thing.”
Leading scorers for the Bulldogs were senior Druce Asah, 16 points, and Kharyem Watson, 14 points, and Kellen Magowan, 12 points.
Tracy vs. Kimball, West High, 5:30 p.m.
West vs. East Union, West High, 7 p.m.
Pacheco vs. Buhach Colony, Tracy High, 5:30 p.m.
Lathrop vs. Castlemont, Tracy High, 7 p.m.