Truckee falls to Bay Area’s Jefferson |

Truckee falls to Bay Area’s Jefferson

The Truckee High boys basketball team ran into a quality opponent on Friday, along with its highly touted big man.

The Wolverines dropped to 4-2 overall with a 61-47 non-league loss to visiting Jefferson of Daly City, and its 6-foot-5-inch, 210-pound center Willie Sandridge.

“I would rank him as one of the five top big men in the county,” Jefferson coach Nick Paras told the Oakland Tribune earlier this year. “Without him, we’re just a completely different team.”

With Sandridge, a senior who scored at will in the paint against the Wolverines, the Indians proved difficult to match points with.

“He clearly controlled the game,” Truckee head coach Keith Crawford said. “We didn’t have an answer for him.”

Sandridge finished with a game high 17 points ” guard Juan Bidinger also had 17 for Jefferson ” in limited action, as Paras constantly rotated his players in and out of the game.

The ongoing rotation was made possible by way of a 19-man roster that lined nearly half the bleachers in the Truckee gym. And although the Wolverines played decidedly better without Sandridge on the floor, the level of talent deep into Jefferson’s bench did not wane greatly from its starting five. In fact, 13 different players scored for the Indians.

“I don’t know if there is such a thing, but I’m hoping this was a productive loss for us,” Crawford said. “I hope we picked up on a few things to improve on.”

One such thing to work on, he said, is to play equally as aggressive on offense as defense. Another is to play intelligently.

“That’s what’s going to win games for us,” Crawford said. “I don’t think defense will be a problem for us.”

Neither will the team’s effort, the coach said, as Truckee never let up its intensity despite trailing from the get-go and falling behind by as many as 30 points.

“For the rest of the season I won’t have to question their effort,” Crawford said.

Especially junior guard Gavin Novotny, who put the Wolverines on the board with a steal and layup after his team fell behind 8-0 and harassed Jefferson’s speedy guards from start to finish.

And the Indians’ guards were speedy.

But “As quick as they were, Novotny was right there with them,” Crawford said.

Senior post player Cory Hoehn, who hit the winning free throw against North Tahoe on Wednesday, led Truckee in scoring with 14 points. Hoehn also connected on three of five from behind the 3-point arch.

Senior guard Drew Stewart played aggressively on offense, scoring 11 points on nine of 10 free throws.

Truckee (1-0, 4-2) hosts Yerington today at 7:30 p.m. in a game that was rescheduled from Dec. 16.

Note: Jefferson defeated host Sparks 58-48 on Saturday. Sandridge scored 23.

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