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December 1, 2013

Tip-Off Classic recap

Newark Memorial and Monte Vista posted season opening NCP Top 20 wins to highlight the 2013 NorCal Tip-Off Classic. Also see Jalen McFerren's heroics and a monster game from Shon Briggs to start another basketball season.

No. 2 Newark Memorial made an early statement in the 2013-2014 season with a 64-48 win over No. 3 Modesto Christian. The Cougars were paced by their senior guard duo of Joey Frenchwood (15 points) and Mike Pickney II (13 points). Matthew Thomas added 18 points and nine rebounds.

Modesto Christian forward Anthony Townes had 19 points and 11 rebounds in battling the size of Newark Memorial throughout the game. Guard Mason Washington had 15 points for the Crusaders.

Newark Memorial shot 52 percent from the field compared to 27 percent from Modesto Christian. Both teams combined to shoot 5-for-33 from three point range.

The Cougars play Arroyo on Tuesday while Modesto Christian will host No. 4 Capital Christian on December 7.

Rabb leads O'Dowd past Bullard

In the first game of his junior season, 5-star power forward Ivan Rabb had 28 points on an array of dunk finishes as No. 1 Bishop O'Dowd beat Bullard 90-76. The Dragons started the game on a 14-0 run and saw Rabb and fellow junior Paris Austin scored the first 18 points for Bishop O'Dowd. It led by 14 points after one quarter, 12 points at halftime and 15 points after three quarters. Austin also had 28 points, including three made 3-pointers.

Humboldt State signee Calvin Young Jr. had 17 points as the best player for Bullard, who was without junior star Austin Armstead. Sophomore Pardeep Gill made six threes in a losing effort.

The Dragons, playing with Isaiah Thomas and Sebastian Flores due to transfer ineligibility, are off until December 19 when they travel to Las Vegas for the Tarkanian Classic.

Monte Vista wins Top 20 matchup

No. 5 Monte Vista controlled the action from the beginning in a 75-56 win over No. 20 Moreau Catholic. The Mustangs relied on a senior quartet led by player of the game Grant Jackson with 22 points and six rebounds. Cal Poly signee Trevor John had 19 points, including three early 3-pointers to open up the early lead. Spencer Rust had 14 points and Rishi Satoor had 15 points.

Freshman point guard Damari Milstead scored 21 points in his varsity debut for the Mariners, which started four underclassmen. Armond Simmons added 14 points and Oscar Frayer finished with 11 points .

Monte Vista shot 6-for-10 from beyond the three point line and was +15 in the rebounding battle. At times, Moreau Catholic's pressure caused Monte Vista some issues, but Monte Vista always had a counter and executed well on offense.

The Mustangs head to Santa Rosa for the Russ Peterich Tip-Off Classic this week. Moreau Catholic plays Antioch on Tuesday.

Freedom overwhelms Granite Bay

No. 17 Freedom jumped out to 26-13 lead after the first quarter en route to a 77-60 win over Granite Bay, which lost 2015 shooting guard Kendrick Jackson to transfer out of the area over the summer. Going 0-for-4 from three point range, Freedom shot over 50 percent from the field led by 23 points from Elliott Smith. Steven Roxas chipped in with 18 points and Rodney Pope had 15 points with five rebounds and five assists.

Granite Bay was led by 18 points from sophomore Charlie Tooley and 10 points from senior Aidan Naughton.

Freedom takes on No. 13 Salesian on Tuesday while Granite Bay takes on No. 15 Sheldon in its foundation game. The Grizzlies will return to regular season action on December 10 against No. 10 St. Mary's-Stockton.

Oakland holds off Briggs, Heritage

Oakland had a size disadvantage but its guard play and quickness allowed them to defeat Heritage 66-59. The Wildcats ran out to a 36-23 advantage at the half before Heritage was able to close to within six points in the second half. Oakland made its free throws to close out the Patriots.

Game MVP Keith Hunter led Oakland but the Wildcats have a rotation of athletic and versatile guards and wings to throw at their opponents. The Wildcats have a lack of height and size as they will have to outrun and to be more athletic than their competition. Oakland was runner up in the Oakland Athletic League last season but will be formidable again this season.

Shon Briggs had 39 points as the Patriots did not have another double-digit scorer. Opposing teams should key their defense on Briggs and force others to score. Heritage finished third in a competitive Bay Valley Athletic League last season and should be the main challenger against league favorite, Freedom.

Rams start fast, beat College Park

St. Mary's had double digit leads after both the first and second quarters as the Rams led 40-29 at the half. College Park made a strong defensive stand to take the lead briefly against the Rams in third quarter, but St. Mary's was able to counter to lead at the end of the third quarter and to eventually win 65-56.

St. Mary's will lean on Gabe Vincent and game MVP Lance Coleman as they look to repeat and go undefeated in the Tri-City League. The Rams have a good rotation of interchangeable guards and forwards that complement the two main stars. St. Mary's has a spread offense that will fast break when available but look for the 3-point shot in the half court set. Close to half of its field goal attempts were 3-point shots.

College Park has a good balance of inside and outside play, as the Falcons will also look to repeat and to go undefeated in the Diablo Valley Athletic League. The guard play struggled offensively in this game but forward Joe Demers stepped up with a game high 27 points. The Falcons were also outrebounded by seven and had six fewer free throw attempts as they had trouble controlling the paint.

McFerren makes game winner

Castro Valley looked to be outmatched and outsized against Fairfield as the Trojans trailed by seven after one quarter and by four at the half. However, Castro Valley rallied in the second half to win 55-53 on their last shot by senior Jalen McFerren, who was the game MVP.

Castro Valley made 14 field goals out of 20 attempts including four 3-point shots in the second half to rally. The Trojans are undersized and will depend on a multi guard set to pressure and to outpace opponents. Castro Valley finished in last place in the West Alameda County-Foothill Division last season and will look to be a stronger challenger, as Bishop O'Dowd will be the favorites.

The Falcons are undersized as well but have some bulk in the paint that looked to be the difference in this game. They out-rebounded Castro Valley 36 to 24. Fairfield also committed nine more turnovers and had more fouls that allowed for the rally. Fairfield finished second in the Solano County League last season and should be a challenger again.

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