YUBA: Stallworth leaves game with leg injury
He was at ease while getting the nod as the starting point guard, and turned in a near flawless game while making all but one of his shots from the field.
“I just want to give everyone confidence. Coach keeps on saying ‘Next man up’ and I’m just trying to do my role and help us win for the most part. I just try to facilitate the offense, and when I get an open shot, make it,” Ruaro said with a laugh. “I’ve always had to prove something and have always played with a chip on my shoulder. I like to prove everyone wrong.”
After playing stifling ball on the defensive end, the 49ers showcased precision passing, deadly outside shooting and sheer brute force inside to turn the game into a rout just minutes after tipoff and built the lead to as many as 48 points in the second half.
Former Marysville High standout Erik Scheive finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and fellow post Jihad Woods added 11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, three assists and two steals for a double-double of his own.
River Valley High grad Josh Dhatt started the game and hit three 3-point- ers while finishing with nine points, six assists and two steals, Xavier Francois recorded eight points and five rebounds, and Thomas Austefjord dished out five assists.
The only negative for the 49ers came midway through the first half, and it could have repercussions down the road.
Stallworth, who averaged a team-high 16.3 points per game before fracturing his left foot in the conference opener on Dec. 22, was injured again and left the gym in crutches in what he believed to be a broken right leg.
A transfer from the Air Force Academy, Cornelius said Stallworth was the best point guard in the state entering the season and he just returned from his injury last week, when he scored nine points off the bench in a 63-43 win at Contra Costa.
Wednesday night was his first home game for Yuba.
“It’s devastating. For about 10 minutes there I was fighting back tears because of what he’s gone through over those 44 days and how hard he worked to get back here,” Cornelius said. “He looked so good, too. He was quick, his jumping ability was phenomenal and he was shooting the ball well. I literally had a sub at the table to take him out and then that happened. That just made it 10 times worse.”
It was later reported Stallworth fractured his fibula and will miss 3-4 months.
The good news is Yuba was 12-0 in his absence and will get Johnson and Jackson back next week in enough time for Cornelius to mesh things together heading into the playoffs.
The 49ers will take their state-best 13-game winning streak to Napa on Friday night before closing out the regular season with two games next week, at home against Merritt on Feb. 15 and at Mendocino on Feb. 17.
One more win will clinch the BVC title outright, but Cornelius, along with his players, have bigger things in mind.
“We have a couple more games to take care of business and we can’t just be satisfied with winning a conference championship,” Cornelius said. “We’re playing for a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed to get two home playoff games to get the final eight. That’s what our goals are.”
Yuba College guard Jaaron Stallworth is helped off the court after injuring his leg during the first half of Wednesday night’s Bay Valley Conference game against the College of Marin in Linda.