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TWIN CITIES SHOOTOUT: Yuba City holds off Lindhurst
Honkers hang on for 66-61 win
Yuba City High boys basketball coach Brian Davis' key word in describing the Honkers this season is patience.
When asked about his team, he tells people that it's going to take time for this group to mesh. It's a rebuilding year for the five-time defending Tri-County Conference champions.
The Honkers' record thus far isn't pretty at 2-4, yet three of those losses were to Davis, Granite Bay and Oak Ridge — all teams ranked in the Sacramento Bee's Top 20.
Getting league title No. 6 and a sixth consecutive playoff appearance will be a battle.
Names like Matt Hayes, Zach Nelson and Tyler Fry won't be in uniform to be Superman. If the Honkers are going to do anything of substance in 2012-13, it will take contributions from the entire roster.
Thursday night's win was a step in the right direction.
Three different Honkers scored in double-figures as they rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to knock off Lindhurst 66-61 in the opening game of the Twin Cities Shootout at River Valley High's Falcon Gymnasium.
Trailing 30-23, Yuba City opened the second half on a 14-2 run as the Honkers implemented a full-court press on the Blazers (5-4). Lindhurst pulled off a similar comeback on Wednesday against Live Oak with the same strategy.
Tanner McAlister's 3-pointer in the third quarter gave Yuba City a 35-32 lead the Honkers wouldn't relinquish.
YC extended its lead to as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter before Lindhurst started to chip away with a 13-1 run with senior Malik Payton scoring 11 of those points.
Devin Ward's lay-in in the final seconds made it a four-point game before Yuba City's Aran Dhillon nailed a free throw to seal the win.
Davis said his team's inability to come out with energy has been the main setback through the first six games.
"We came out extra flat in the first quarter," Davis said. "We had to make sure that we put that spark back in and then it was time to run our stuff."
Yuba City only shot 33 percent from the field in the first half, but turned it around in the final 16 minutes to shoot 55 percent.
Senior guard Gurpreet Singh led the Honkers with 13 points and McAlister provided a lift off the bench with 12 points.
The Honkers were able to pick things up defensively, holding Lindhurst to 40 percent shooting in the second half compared to 57 percent in the first two quarters.
Louis Mowers played well defensively and scored 11 points to go with four rebounds. Taylor Elkins scored nine with five boards and Nathan Gillming put up eight points and pulled down eight rebounds.
"There's going to be a different person stepping up every day," Davis said. "We know we have to do this as one collective unit and just go from there."
Lindhurst's senior trio of Cedrick Thomas, Ward and Payton continued to do the heavy lifting for the Blazers.
Thomas' Herculean display of 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks was complemented by 15 points from Ward and 14 more from Payton, who came away with nine boards.
Lindhurst coach Rick Wise was happy with the way his team finished the game. He just wants to see that intensity from the opening tip.
"This was a hard-fought game," Wise said. "(Yuba City) picked up the intensity and they came after us, which was what we wanted to do. It's a learning experience for us and we'll get better."
Yuba City faces Marysville at 6 p.m. in day two of the Shootout, while Lindhurst takes on River Valley at 7:30.