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December 13, 2013

Newark holds on

Despite a poor first half, Newark Memorial remained perfect on the young season with a 64-57 win over defending Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament champion Bullard of Fresno.

For a little more than a half on Thursday, it didn't look good for No. 2 Newark Memorial. The Cougars were down 13 at halftime to Bullard before outscoring the Knights 22-14 in the third quarter and making key plays late for a 64-57 win. Bullard has lost to the top two teams in NorCal in the early season. Newark Memorial moves on to play Sacramento while Bullard will take on Riordan.

The Cougars had 60 of 64 points scored by starters led by 19 points from senior post Matthew Thomas. Damien Banford came through with a big second half for 13 points and Johnny Parker finished with 11 points. Joey Frenchwood had eight points and Mike Pickney II put in seven. The Cougars need to develop depth, but this remains an elite team with its experience and defensive ability.

Bullard made a living through its full court pressure and three point shooting. The Knights were able to turn the Cougars over in the first half. Bullard outscored Newark 18-0 from three point range in the first half and 27-0 for the game. Kevin Howland-Wolaridge was the leading scorer at 16 points. The Knights also struggled from the line, especially in the second half, to aid in the Newark comeback.

Capital controls action in win over Salesian

In the night's finale, Capital Christian was in control for much of the game in beating the Pride 66-60. The Cougars never trailed to earn a semi-final date with Campolindo. Behind a balanced effort, the Cougars were led by 14 apiece from Tyler Jennings and Uchenna Iroegbu. D.J. Wilson had 11 points with double digit rebounds and Marcelas Perry had nine points.

Capital Christian took control with a 9-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to turn its 10 point lead into a 19 point advantage with less than five minutes left. After starting the year as the No. 4 team in NorCal and the top team in the Sacramento area, the Cougars have depth in the backcourt and size inside. They already own a win over Modesto Christian.

Salesian, rocked by graduation and transfers, suffered its first loss of the year despite 12 points from junior Bernard Ward and sophomore Brandon McGhee. UC Irvine signee Jonathan Galloway had nine points and freshman Tre Gray had 10 points. The Pride knocked down six threes, including three from McGhee, but were outscored by 12 points on the free throw line. Salesian struggled with turnovers in the loss against consistent pressure defense from Capital Christian.

Salesian plays host Gridley today.

Sacramento moves past Riordan

Leading 18-12 after the first quarter, Sacramento used an 11-1 run in the second to gain a double digit advantage over Riordan for a 77-64 first round win. Riordan made a run to get within six points in the fourth quarter before a Dragons' 10-2 run sealed the game.

Sophomore Solomon Young displayed his new three point touch in draining five triples en route to 20 points with a handful of rebounds and blocks. Sophomore Christian Terrell had 12 points including a big dunk down the middle of the lane. Sophomore Tre Finch had 11 points followed by Andrew Williams and Jermaine Henderson adding nine points each. The Dragons are playing without a senior this year and are potentially a year away from making an impact on the state level. On Thursday, their trapping and ball pressure caused problems in going deep into their bench. Sacramento takes on Newark Memorial in the semi-finals.

Riordan was paced by 21 points from Jiday Ugbaja, who finished with a pair of threes in also getting to the line. Chiefy Ugbaja and Zach Masoli each had 10 points while junior post Karim N'Diaye had eight points. The Crusaders have lost two straight to San Ramon Valley and Sacramento and will face Bullard today. Riordan is looking to replace good backcourt talent, including San Francisco signee Frankie Ferrari. It was outscored on the three point line by 18 points.

Campolindo rolls past Gridley

Campolindo and Gridley knocked down matching three pointers to start the game. Then Campolindo scored 18 straight points and led 49-10 at halftime en route to beating the tournament host 80-28. Junior Matt O'Reilly scored a game high 17 points as one of 13 Cougars to score. Campolindo is a deep squad with multiple shooters as part of a hard working group. A dark horse to win this tournament, the Cougars get a stiffer test against Capital Christian.

Gridley was led by 14 points from senior Shobi Khan.

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