With plenty of college prospects on the floor at El Cerrito High, Modesto Christian relied on a deep stable of perimeter options to beat the Gauchos 67-60. Pacific bound Raymond Bowles had a game high 17 points while Zerrion Payton added 14 points for the Top 5 Crusaders.
El Cerrito employed a packed in zone defense to combat the driving ability of Modesto Christian. It worked well in the first half as the Gauchos led most of the way before the Crusaders took a 29-27 lead into the half. After halftime, Thomas Wallace scored all of his 12 points and Modesto Christian knocked down more open looks and got to the basket. The Gauchos saw a balanced scoring effort with Wyvone Birden leading the way with 14 points followed by Tyrell Alcorn with 13 points and Blake Rayford and Rae Jackson each scoring 12 points.
Pacific duo paces Modesto Christian
Wallace, a 6-foot-4 guard, turned in an all-around game with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists while still working back in from a finger injury. Handling the point guard duties, he showed patience in being a pass first option against El Cerrito's zone in the first half. In the third and fourth quarters, he was more aggressive going to the basket with a couple of athletic drives. He also knocked down a three pointer. Wallace is a physical guard with good acceleration. After being called on to be a high volume shooter on McNair last year, Wallace has appeared to have a pretty seamless transition into playing with more talent at Modesto Christian.
Bowles occupied the high post for most of the day in showing his versatility. The 6-foot-5 small forward was able to crash the lane off the bounce and was smooth in the open court, but struggled to finish inside. He also got to the free throw line in going 9-for-14. Bowles capped his day with an aggressive dunk down the middle of the lane.
Both are 4-star prospects with Bowles at No. 8 and Wallace at No. 9 and are important additions for Pacific, which was 9-8 entering Saturday.
Top sophomores make impact
Two prospects on the 2015 Watch List are Alcorn and Modesto Christian power forward Anthony Townes. Alcorn, who made All-League as a freshman, showed a good shooting stroke and knocked down three 3s. He also added a tough baseline floater and doesn't force action. The 6-foot-0 point guard plays with a good burst to get past the initial defender.
Townes has very good rebounding instincts, especially for a younger player, is easily finishing with double digit rebounds. His offensive game isn't developed, but he is a strong finisher and his athleticism carries him on this end. He is a good inside presence for Modesto Christian, but will need to add a couple of inches to his 6-foot-6 frame to be a top tier recruit.
Cleaning out the Notebook
Jackson, a San Jose State commit, had 12 points in getting to the basket and showing some feel on his mid-range game. He did go 0-for-6 from three point range, but continues to show a good understanding of his game in the context of the team plan at El Cerrito.
Modesto Christian junior guard Mason Washington came off the bench to score 11 points, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc with a floater. He has a good basketball IQ, can handle it and has a solid built. While he doesn't start, it is more about the depth of Modesto Christian as Washington is a guard on the rise.