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Shull scores 32, Braves wallop Honkers
Shea Shull set a new career-high for scoring for the second straight game and led Hamilton High to a 62-40 victory against Willows on Tuesday.
Shull scored 32 points, topping his previous best of 26 points that he scored against Pierce on Feb. 1, and the Braves invaded the Honkers' home gym and took home sole possession of third place in the Sacramento Valley League.
Hamilton (14-10, 6-4 SVL) had payback on their mind entering the game, after the Honkers beat them on the football field 21-20 in the Northern Section championship game just a few short months ago, Shull said.
"A lot of us were ready to come back for that section title (in football), they beat us there and it wasn't going to happen again," he said.
Hamilton's victory ended a four-game win streak for the Honkers (9-14, 5-5) that included upset victories against first-place Pierce and second-place Live Oak.
The Braves bounced back from a narrow loss to Pierce in their last game out and wasted little time jumping out to a big lead on Tuesday in Willows.
Four Hamilton players scored during a 16-2 run at the start of the first quarter and the Honkers never got closer than 12 points. A focus on playing against the 2-3 zone during practice helped the Braves overcome the Honkers' height advantage, according to Shull.
"I think we just came out fired up, we were ready. A lot of us were passing the ball around, moving around a lot better, and were coming to the hoop," he said.
The Honkers came out flat and struggled to make the shots that were falling in their previous four games. No player on the team scored more than eight points.
Ryan Amaru sparked a short-lived rally at the end of the first half, scoring back-to-back buckets, but the 8-5 run was negated by a 11-2 run by Hamilton at the start of the second half.
"We went back to our old ways… passing the ball away, couldn't handle the pressure, playing one-on-one too much, just a total breakdown of what we've been doing," Willows coach Darrell Schonauer said.
Austin Burbank played solid defense all night for Hamilton and scored 11 points, second only to Shull and well above his season average.
Burbank made all three free throws after being fouled while putting up a last second shot at the end of the third quarter, silencing jabs from a loud Honkers' rooting section.
Tim Bekendam scored eight points and Ricky Pompa added six points for the Braves.
Travis Mendes and Chris Walter led Willows with eight points each, and Jake Martin and Amaru added seven points.
Hamilton entered the week at sixth place in the Northern Section Division V playoff points standings, and closes the season with a home game against Durham on Friday.
Willows began the week tied with University Prep for 13th place in Division IV playoff points, and closes the season with a game in Arbuckle against Pierce.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.