Woodcreek boys hold off Del Oro

Boys Hoops
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Ultimately, Del Oro High’s boys basketball team couldn’t dig itself out of the hole it fell into early on. Still, the Golden Eagles wouldn’t let themselves be buried that easily. Del Oro dropped its Sierra Foothill League opener Thursday night, falling to visiting Woodcreek 63-55. The final score, however, doesn’t tell just how close the Eagles came to pulling off a thrilling comeback. Limited to 14 points in the first half, Del Oro (10-4, 0-1 SFL) trailed by 20 points midway through the third quarter but cut the Timberwolves’ lead to two in the fourth. Junior guard Aaron Hendricks nailed a 3-pointer off a cross-court feed from senior guard Nico Ruiz to make the score 53-51 with 2:15 to play. “We knew they weren’t going to go away,” Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton said. “We knew they were going to come out firing — they’ve got too much pride not to.” After senior center Mike Kurtz hit a short jumper to put the Timberwolves (14-3, 2-0 SFL) up by four with 1:56 to go, Del Oro senior forward Spencer Butterfield nailed a jumper of his own to trim the lead back to two. That was as close as the Eagles got. Del Oro was forced to foul down the stretch, and Woodcreek capitalized, making 6-of-10 free throws in the final minute to put the game away. Kurtz and senior forward Nick Milani each scored more than 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Woodcreek. The 6-foot-11 Kurtz’s game-high 23 points included two dunks and a 9-for-11 performance at the foul line, while Milani finished with 21 points. Kurtz and Milani each grabbed 11 rebounds. Milani also had four assists and three steals, while Kurtz blocked three shots. Butterfield led Del Oro with 22 points on 6-of-7 shootiing at the foul line. Hendricks counted four 3-pointers among his 18 points for the Golden Eagles. Del Oro endured two stretches of five minutes or more in the first half in which it made one field goal or less. The Golden Eagles didn’t break double digits until Hendricks hit his first 3-pointer with 1:23 left before halftime. “I don’t think Woodcreek did anything special to stop us,” Eagles coach Geoff Broyles said. “We had a lot of good looks that just didn’t fall. “It was a tale of two halves. We should have had 35 points at halftime. Instead we had 14.” While he wasn’t expecting to sweat as much as he did at the end after jumping out to such a big early lead, Pinkerton was pleased to see his team pull out a win in a tough gym. “This is the first time our senior boys have won on their court,” the Timberwolves’ coach said. “It’s special anytime you get a win at Del Oro. In junior varsity action, Del Oro whipped Woodcreek 68-27 to improve to 14-0. Alan Kidwell led the Golden Eagles with 13 points, followed by Taylor Bergthold and Nick Lewis (who shares the same name with the varsity squad’s point guard) with 10 apiece. Del Oro’s freshman team won 65-30.