Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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‘Jackets triumph at Maxwell’s Wells Tourney

Princeton sophomore Junior Andrade looks to pass during the Eagles win over Maxwell at the 68th Irene Wells Memorial Tournament. Andrade averaged over 29 points a game and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Last week was an adventure for the Williams Yellowjackets’ basketball team, as injuries saw them suit just six players for the final game at the 68th Annual Irene Wells Tournament in Maxwell.

Yet the scrappy ‘Jackets, who have had a total of four practices so far this season, were not deterred, posting a convincing 60-40 win over Maxwell to clinch the championship in the four-team round robin affair.

It was a rough, and at times chippy contest, as rivalry games can often be, but despite being outrebounded by the Panthers, the Yellowjackets conceded nothing easily and won the loose ball battle. 

While junior Leo Trujillo turned in a herculean effort, pouring in 35 points to pace Williams, the rest of the team did their part as well, particularly fellow juniors Johnny Alcaraz, Ty Howell, and Izael Velazquez.

Trujillo, the tournament MVP, had a double-double in the Yellowjackets 59-48 win over Los Molinos on Dec. 9, then tossed in 22 in a 57-49 victory over Princeton the following evening.

Also named to the All-Tournament Team for Williams was Alcaraz, who had nine points against Maxwell and 16 against Princeton, along with Howell, who played selflessly on both ends of the floor throughout.

Velazquez, as the point man on the swarming ‘Jacket defense, harassed the Panthers all game long.

The Williams Yellowjackets were the team champions at the 68th Annual Irene Wells Memorial Tournament.

Overall, it was an effort that head coach Jeff Lemus was proud of summing it up by saying, “I’m very happy.  We have only had four practices this entire season, but we have stressed defense and even though we were down to six guys tonight, I like the way we stayed aggressive and kept playing hard.”

Perhaps the most surprising team at the tournament was the Princeton Eagles, who claimed second place after beating Maxwell 56-41, then turning in gritty efforts to give both Williams and Los Molinos a run for their money.

Princeton fell to Williams 57-49 and then dropped an overtime game to Los Molinos 65-62, but led by sophomore Junior Andrade, the well-coached Eagles were fun to watch.

Andrade was nothing short of spectacular, showing off a silky touch, as he averaged 29.3 points over the three games and was an easy All-Tournament pick, where he was joined by teammate Alex Medina, who also got an All-Tournament nod.

For the host Panthers, who struggled to find an offensive rhythm, it was tough going against the Eagles and Yellowjackets, although they did come away with a 52-48 win over the Bulldogs last Friday night. 

Senior Shane Danley powered Maxwell with 16 points, while juniors Dillon Dry and Berto Lara added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Against Princeton, Lara and Danley finished with 12 points apiece, with Dry tallying 11 more.

In the finale against Williams, Danley again paced Maxwell with 11 points, while Dry and Lara, the Panthers’ All-Tournament selections, pitched in with 10 and nine points, respectively.

All three teams were back in action this week with Williams putting its unbeaten streak on the line, when the ‘Jackets  returned to Maxwell on Monday night to face the Panthers for the third time this season, then was in Princeton on Wednesday, before tipping off at Colusa’s Raczniak Tournament tonight at 6 PM. 

Princeton (3-2) squares off against CORE Butte in Chico this evening, while Maxwell (2-4) will be at the Burney Tournament beginning today.

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