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Thunder hold off Del Oro for third place in tourney

Rocklin wins two-of-three in Rocklin Holiday Tournament
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Another Sierra Foothill League rivalry was renewed early Saturday as the Rocklin High boys basketball team narrowly escaped its holiday tournament with a 74-68 win over Del Oro in the third place game. Del Oro shot lights out from three-point range out of the gate, hitting 5-of-8 in the first quarter, but that changed in the second eight minutes. The Golden Eagles were 0-of-5 from beyond the arc, and endured early foul trouble that allowed Rocklin space to spread its offense. Cody Kale led all scorers with 21points, Tony Williams had 17 points and Alika Lemon scored 16 points as Rocklin had three scorers in double figures. As the biggest man on the court, the 6-foot-6 Lemon found little trouble snagging offensive boards and scoring second-chance points. He also had four blocks. “The reality is overall we shot the ball better,” said Rocklin head coach Steve Taylor. “We lost to a really good Oakmont team yesterday and beat a tough Del Oro team today. I think that’s the way the SFL is going to be this season. There’s going to be a lot of good teams beating each other up. It was a good bounce-back win and you always like to see how your team reacts in a tournament setting.” Del Oro had quite an offensive showing in their own right with three players scoring in double digits. Spencer Butterfield blazed the court for his 20 points. His quick passing and dribble penetration inched his team back to within two points at the end of the third quarter at 49-47. All-tournament player Aaron Hendricks went off for another 17 points. Guard Nick Lewis also had 13 points. “It was a competitive, fast game between two SFL rivals,” said Del Oro head coach Geoff Broyles. “I know Steve [Taylor] and I both probably feel like we have a little ways to go, but I’m sure we’ll have two more really tough battles in the SFL. We shot really well early and its tough to shoot that an entire game. We knew at one point we’d probably have a stretch where shots didn’t go down and Rocklin has a lot of guys who can play.” The presence of Lemon inside kept Del Oro away from the rim in the second and third quarters. He had his way with the low post on the other end and the Eagles fell into that stretch of shooting Broyles was sure would come. What began as a battle of the guards between Butterfield and Kale ended as a tough inside game between Lemon and Del Oro’s John Root. Root forced Lemon into the only technical foul of the game on top of a personal foul for four free throws. Both teams are still either transitioning players from football season or in some cases waiting on players to join. At most the players coming from their school’s football team have about two days of practice. The Thunder host Ponderosa Tuesday night. Del Oro is at Cordova Monday night and at Valley Tuesday night and then the Golden Eagles will participate in Auburn’s Kendall Arnett Tournament next week.