Downey de­feats Buhach Colony in Oak­dale Ro­tary Clas­sic

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY JU­LIAN A. LOPEZ [email protected]­bee.com

There hasn’t been a lot of suc­cess around the Downey boys bas­ket­ball pro­gram in re­cent mem­ory. In the last three years, the Knights have won 19 games.

That may be chang­ing un­der first-year head coach Stephen Gar­rett.

With a 69-60 win over Buhach Colony (8-7) on Fri­day in the 2018 Oak­dale Ro­tary Clas­sic cham­pi­onship, the Knights (10-5) won their 10th game of the sea­son, the most by a Downey team since 2011-12 when it won 17 and made the play­offs.

“We had 10 ju­niors on the team last year,” Gar­rett said. “I took the var­sity po­si­tion (was an as­sis­tant last year) be­cause the fact that we were bring­ing back 10 play­ers. They were hun­gry and they wanted it and they are work­ing to keep those pieces to­gether.”

One piece of the puz­zle for the Knights re­cently has been the team’s play in the third quar­ter.

In their semi­fi­nal win over Pit­man on Thurs­day, the Knights outscored the Pride 26-11.

On Fri­day, Downey trailed 46-45 with four min­utes re­main­ing in the quar­ter be­fore Gar­rett took a time­out.

“I just al­ways try to tell them to try and con­trol the game,” he said. “We were get­ting into some rushed shots. I just said we have to take con­trol.”

Led by se­nior cen­ter Malachi But­ler, the Knights went on a 17-0 run af­ter the time­out and the Thun­der didn’t score un­til 6:21 left in the fourth

on a layup by se­nior for­ward Bran­don Lyons.

With 6-foot-4 Thun­der ju­nior for­ward Ger­ald Brax­ton in foul trou­ble, the 6-foot-8 But­ler had no prob­lem dom­i­nat­ing in the paint and grab­bing of­fen­sive re­bounds. But­ler had a game-high 20 points, 12 of which game in the sec­ond half and also grabbed 13 re­bounds.

“I just wanted to come out and play and ball,” But­ler said. “Every­body has been com­ing to­gether and we just have dif­fer­ent parts and we all play well to­gether.”

Knights se­nior guard An­der­son Grover had 15 points in­clud­ing a deep 3-pointer at the half­time buzzer that hit noth­ing but net and ju­nior guard Lawrence Har­ris added 12.

“An­der­son and Malachi, they play with heart and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” Gar­rett said. “He (But­ler) is a baller and he’s got the size and phys­i­cal tools. An­der­son just has the heart and he goes hard (ef­fort) all the time.”

Grover was named the Most Valu­able Player of the tour­na­ment.

Pit­man 61, Oak­dale 58:

The Pride ( 7-7) beat the Mus­tangs (12-2) in the third place game. Sopho­more Josiah Frank had 20 points for the Pride. Fresh­man guard Kobe Nunes had 25 for Oak­dale, which lost its sec­ond game in a row af­ter a 12-0 start.

JOHN WESTBERG jwest­[email protected]­bee.com

Downey cen­ter Malachi But­ler dunks the ball dur­ing the cham­pi­onship game of the Oak­dale Ro­tary Clas­sic against Buhach Colony on Satur­day at Oak­dale High School.

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