In a meeting of size against speed and quickness, the blur guys won.
Casa Roble High School put the Stuteville brothers on display as they again showcased their considerable skill set, but second-seeded Sierra of Manteca offered an array of shooters, ball handlers and a swarming defense to post a 44-39 victory over the No. 3-seeded Rams in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinal on Tuesday night at Cosumnes River College.
Eric Stuteville, a 6-foot-10 senior post who patterns his game after his NBA idol Dirk Nowitzki and is headed to Sacramento State on scholarship, scored 19 points with 15 rebounds. He was the only one to score his team's points for a good stretch in the second half.
Though 6-9 junior brother Mason had his moments, he was mostly a rebounder in the second half and didn't score in the final two quarters until 22 seconds left, a jumper to cut it to 43-36. He had 12 points and 14 rebounds as the Rams (24-7) were held to a season-low point total. Sierra has won 20 of 21 games.
Both teams advance to the NorCal Regional playoffs that start next week. Sierra (26-5) will face top-seeded Modesto Christian on Friday night for the section title at Sleep Train Arena. Sierra seeks its first championship in its third appearance since 2001. Modesto Christian is seeking a record 15th section title.
Sierra guards Guillermo Nunez and Eric Melgar had 13 each for the Timberwolves, coached by Scott Thomason, son of longtime University of the Pacific coach Bob Thomason, now retired. A Melgar three-pointer gave the Timberwolves a 39-32 lead with 3:13 to play and a Nunez drive pushed it to 41-34 with 1:36 to go.
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On podcast: ESPN1320.net