Woodcreek boys ride late surge to upset of Yuba City

Timberwolves advance to face Bella Vista Friday night
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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Down by five points on the road in a hostile gym, it did not look good for the Woodcreek High boys basketball team Wednesday night in Yuba City. Unfazed, the Timberwolves scored the last 10 points of the contest to take a 76-71 win in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. “We scored the last 10 points to win by five,” Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton said. “These guys have heart and character.” Woodcreek had to fight for this one all night long, benefiting from a deep bench and key contributions from its reserves. With three starters in foul trouble almost from the get-go, the Timberwolves’ backups responded with huge effort and a big night. “There are some real unsung heroes of this game that won't show up in the box scores,” said Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton. “I think that (Brad) Rostratter, (Nik) Stathopoulos, (Tevin) Tyus, and (Derek) Anganes had a combined two points but they provided huge contributions to our victory. Those guys did an awesome job keeping us in the game, the whole game.” Woodcreek led by one at the end of the first period, and then outscored the Honkers 23-15 in the second as it headed to intermission with a nine-point lead. Yuba City reversed the trend in the third when it took a two-point lead at 59-57 heading into the final stanza. The Honkers expanded that lead before Woodcreek delivered down the homestretch to steal the win. The No. 11 seed stepped up to knock off No. 6 Yuba City because it proved capable of spreading the wealth around, with five players scoring in double figures and 17 assists on the night. “The ability and mindset to share the ball was one of the main reasons we won,” Pinkerton said. Junior center Mike Kurtz scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Woodcreek attack. Senior point guard Nick Alongi and junior forward Nik Milani each scored 15, while junior guard Ryan Milat scored 14 points and senior forward Jordan Franks popped in a dozen more. The win moves the Timberwolves (21-7) to the next level, where they will take the No. 3 seed in the tourney field, Bella Vista (24-4). The Broncos barely survived their opener Wednesday night with a 46-44 win over Granite Bay. “All the pressure is on Bella Vista. They are the No. 3 seed and playing at home,” Pinkerton said. “They have 11 seniors and we are the 11th seed.” "Woodcreek is a very good team who is playing well right now," said Bella Vista coach David Gonzalez. "They have a lot of size and athletic kids. We will try to run and press to get some easy baskets to counter their size. It should be a great game." Friday night’s second round game tips at 7 p.m. in the gym at Bella Vista.