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MEL GOOD TOURNAMENT: Honkers blow late lead
Falcons earn big win over Monterey Trail
Yuba City High boys basketball coach Brian Davis sat on a bench in the locker room of Honker Gym with a bewildered look on his face.
Davis and his assistants, Rick Leonard and Trey Shannon, were trying to comprehend what went wrong on Thursday night. There wasn't much of a discussion — just sitting, and staring.
Yuba City held the lead over Lincoln of San Francisco for most of the game. The Honkers were up by as many as 14 points.
Yet when Lincoln's Davian Telfur dropped in a two-point bucket to give the Mustangs a 49-47 advantage with 2:47 remaining in regulation, the Mustangs were the ones with the all of the momentum at just the right time.
Previously winless Lincoln led the rest of the way and held on for a 54-52 victory, handing host Yuba City its first opening-round loss at the Mel Good Tournament since 2006.
The 48th annual installment of this tourney got off to a raucous start as senior guard Gurpreet Singh's smooth shooting stroke energized the Brown Mob. Singh hit four 3-pointers in the first half and scored 18 points as Yuba City held a 14-point advantage in the second quarter.
Lincoln (1-7) took the Honkers' playmaker out of the offensive game plan in the second half with consistent double teams as the Mustangs whittled down YC's lead.
The Mustangs outscored the Honkers 16-8 in the fourth quarter and shot 55 percent from the field.
"We're having a rough start to the season right now, but we just need to execute better," Singh said. "At times, we have flashes where we're really good, and other times, we turn the ball over a lot. We just have to learn to execute better and finish games — three or four of our losses are probably just because of that."
Yuba City (3-6) had a tough time in the post defending 6-foot-7 junior Douglas Snoddy and Telfor, who were both consistently cleaning up on the glass for the Mustangs. Telfor scored 19 for Lincoln and Snoddy added 11.
Tanner McAlister added 13 points for the Honkers and Nathan Gillming scored six.
"It's a growing experience right now," Singh said. "It's still really early in the season. I believe in our team and I know if we just keep working on our game and begin to execute we'll be fine going into league."
The Honkers are the five-time defending Tri-County Conference champions and will need to improve mightily in their seven remaining nonleague matchups before TCC play begins on Jan. 10 against Inderkum.
Yuba City committed 11 turnovers in the second half and struggled shooting from the field, hitting just two field goals in the fourth quarter.
Davis said the main problem plaguing the Honkers has nothing to do with their physicality or skill level. Right now, he says its all between the ears for his team.
He told his players in the postgame meeting that it's "gut check" time now.
"We just make too many mental mistakes that we just can't recover from," Davis said. "They're going to have to dig deep and pull this out. We're an immature team, not by age, but by how we respond to certain situations and we have to make that change.
"This is just one of those losses that makes you numb. We should only have one or two losses at the most so right now, we're definitely not comfortable."
The Honkers continue tournament play tonight at 8 against West Campus.
River Valley 50, Monterey Trail 36
The Falcons knocked off the Sacramento Bee's No. 11-ranked squad in an impressive victory in their opening round matchup at the Mel Good Tournament.
Sophomore Josh Dhatt scored 20 points to lead River Valley (4-7) in what coach Brad McIntire called the team's best win of the season.
"We played four quarters of physical, strong basketball," McIntire said. "We handled their full-court pressure well."
Senior Jordan Noall added six points and 13 rebounds, while fellow senior Stuart Bradley tacked on six points and nine boards. Junior Cris Lamas pulled down seven rebounds.
The Falcons will face Encinal at 6:30 tonight.