Woodcreek tag-teams Ceres in 32-point blowout

Oakmont joins Timberwolves in Rocklin tourney semis
By: John Parker/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Sometimes, playing an overmatched opponent is just the thing that can spark a struggling team.

Woodcreek High School boys basketball coach Paul Hayes was hopeful the Timberwolves’ 68-36 mauling of Ceres on Thursday night in the first round of the Rocklin Holiday Tournament could do just that.

Woodcreek (3-7) never trailed against the winless Bulldogs (0-6), got every player on the roster significant minutes and received scoring from 10 of 15 of them. Even as much of the starting unit got significant rest in the second half, the bench kept up the intensity — something Hayes has preached all season.

“Tonight, we got sustained effort,” Hayes said. “This season, we’ve had pockets of effort — good quarters, good halves, even a good first three quarters. … But pockets of effort won’t win games.”

In several of Woodcreek’s losses, it has led in the fourth quarter, only to see it evaporate. That wasn’t the case Thursday. The Timberwolves led 51-26, and seniors Blake Bass, Luke Summers and John Barton and juniors Nolan Bender and Max Morse started the fourth quarter with energy against an energy-sapped Ceres squad.

“That definitely helps,” said junior forward Tyler Milani, who led all players with 17 points. “Those guys practice hard, just like (starters) do. It’s good to see them do work and keep the lead up.”

Sophomore guard Nick Howe scored 10 of his 12 points in the third quarter on 5-of-5 shooting. Promising freshman guard Noah Blackwell scored nine points.

Ceres, which only went nine players deep, appeared gassed trying to keep pace with the Timberwolves’ up-tempo attack, allowing them to work the ball down low early in the shot clock and free up shooters on the perimeter.

“I think they were bothered by that,” Hayes said. “They had to work pretty hard.”

Woodcreek plays Fairfield in a semifinal Friday night. The winner faces either Oakmont or Inderkum for the championship at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Oakmont defeated Ponderosa 67-54 on Thursday. The Vikings led 16-6 after one quarter and 52-32 after three.