An hour before tip-off, there was barely a seat to be found in the Williams High School gym, and the crowd was already buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the matchup between heated rivals Colusa and Williams. Dozens were turned away at the door after the gym had reached capacity, and when all was said and done, about three-quarters of the crowd who made it in the door were there to support the Yellowjackets.
The atmosphere in the gym for last Wednesday’s game was as charged as expected – and if it wasn’t for a first-quarter offensive explosion by the Yellowjackets, the game might have been, too.
After being outscored 26-12 in the first quarter of last Wednesday’s game against the top-seeded Williams Yellowjackets, the Colusa RedHawks were able to inch their way back into the game in the second and third quarters, but the 14-point gap at the end of the first quarter proved to be the difference at the end of the game as Williams walked away with a 65-51 victory.
Williams’ Big Three, led by senior guard Alex Velazquez, scored 54 of the Yellowjackets’ 65 points. Velazquez finished with 24, while Bryson Bowen and Anthony Davalos scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, to lead the way for Williams. Bowen added 15 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Pedro Ornelas added nine points, and Allan Guevara had two points to round out the scoring for Williams.
Despite the early hole, Colusa (14-13) hung tough, and the game’s middle two quarters narrowly went in the RedHawks’ favor before Williams closed the game out in the fourth: Colusa outscored Williams 17-12 in the second quarter to slash the Yellowjackets’ lead to single digits before the half, and returned from the intermission to outscore them 12-10 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 7 points, putting the score at 48-41. Leading the charge for Colusa was Graeson Bell, who finished with 21 points and was just one rebound shy of a double-double.
Conner Saso and Blake Steidlmayer, a pair of sophomores pulled up for the playoffs, each played significant minutes for the RedHawks and finished with six points apiece.