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Yellowjackets split with Quincy
Throughout the first half, the Williams High boys basketball team was out-shot, out-rebounded and out-played by Quincy.
That all changed when the Yellowjackets came out of halftime with an aggressive full-court press and rallied from a 35-22 halftime deficit to win 67-59.
Williams (8-9, 1-4) picked up its first Mid-Valley League victory and first win since losing senior leader Ismael Larios to a knee injury.
Quincy (10-11, 2-3) closed the first half with a 10-0 run and out-rebounded Williams 15-10 in the second quarter.
"I told the guys, 'The only way I see us coming back is to press them and create for ourselves, because right now we're just swinging the ball around for nothing,'" Williams coach Ben Padilla said. "They all agreed we should go to the press, and go to the 1-2-2 zone, and it worked for us. It created a lot of havoc for them, and they got flustered."
Freshman guard Alex Velazquez scored 21 of his 27 points and swiped seven of his nine steals in the second half. Velazquez made just 1 of 7 three-pointers but found his touch slashing to the hoop and drawing fouls — he made 6 of 9 free throws.
The Yellowjackets haven't gone to the press much during league because teams such as Colusa and Maxwell have guards who handle the ball well, but Quincy's strength is in its post players and shooters.
"We started off decent, but we've lost five in a row. I was like, we've got to find something to break it," Padilla said. "It just felt like anything that could give us a spark would turn this thing around for us."
With sophomore forward Noe Ramirez defending the inbound pass, Velazquez and his brother, junior guard Freddy Velazquez, combined for seven steals in the third quarter alone. The older Velazquez filled out the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds and four steals.
Ramirez held his own against the Mid-Valley League's leading scorer, Brady Rick, with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Rick managed just 12 points and 13 rebounds from his forward position.
"We just wanted it more than they did, and we shot a little better," Ramirez said. "We expected that we were going to go blow for blow with them, and we did."
Senior guard Robert Ramirez hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with nine points, and Ricardo Rico came off the bench and scored eight points in the third quarter.
Ty Morrison led the Trojans with 19 points, Anthony Sullivan chipped in 16 and Erik Schwartz reached double-digits with 10 points.
Quincy 54, Williams 38
In the varsity girls game, the Yellowjackets were outscored 33-14 in the second half as they fell to 3-11 overall and remained winless in MVL play.
Emilee Cranford picked up four fouls in the first quarter. She managed to remain in the game for its entirety but was unable to be aggressive on the defensive end as the Trojans overcame a 24-21 Williams lead at halftime.
Despite playing without any fouls to give, Cranford led Williams with 23 points and seven rebounds, and Lizeth Rivera added nine points.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 749-4789