Boys basketball: Jimenez leads North Marion in 95-83 victory over Woodburn in tournament finale
The first time the Woodburn and North Marion boys basketball teams clashed this season, the Bulldogs came away with a comfortable 19-point victory in the season opener for both programs on Nov. 30.
Three weeks later, the Huskies were happy to return the favor.
Led by a career-best 40 points from junior Sergio Jimenez, the North Marion Huskies dropped nearly 100 points on the Bulldogs, winning by a 95-82 margin on Dec. 22 in the championship game of North Marion's Abby's Pizza Holiday Classic.
It was a contest between two of the top 4A teams in the state, pitting the No. 4 Huskies (5-4) against the No. 8 Bulldogs (8-1), who came into the contest unbeaten through the first seven games of the season.
The two teams traded leads throughout the first half, with Woodburn senior R.J. Veliz connecting on six of his first seven shots of the field to keep the Bulldogs on pace with the Huskies, who held a 39-38 lead at the half. But as Veliz got cold from the field, Jimenez couldn't seem to miss.
Veliz went just 5-of-22 in the final two and a half quarters of play, while Jimenez finished the game hitting 15-of-19 shots. And it wasn't just Jimenez who was white hot from the field; every North Marion player finished the game above 50 percent shooting, as the Huskies connected an improbable 38-of-56 shots (67.8 percent) including 9-of-18 from 3-point range.
In the third quarter alone, North Marion outscored the Bulldogs 32-18 to take a 71-56 lead going into the final quarter. Woodburn was able to cut the lead to 10 midway through the fourth, but an 8-0 run by the Huskies put the game at 87-69 with two minutes left to play.
Veliz and sophomore Jeovanny Marroquin combined to score Woodburn's next 10 points, pulling to within 88-78, but with just one minute left to play, the Huskies needed only to sink their free throws to hold onto the lead.
In addition to his 40-point outing, Jimenez added 10 rebounds and four assists in the win. Teammate Brady Hansen added 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while fellow starter Jared Hauser had eight points, seven assists and five rebounds. Griffin Henry scored 16 points and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Reserve post Johnny Page came off the bench to score 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Veliz had a near quadruple double in the loss, going off for 34 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and eight steals. Marroquin (12 points) and Diego Torres (10 points) were the only other Woodburn players to score in double figures.
North Marion was scheduled to finish out their 2018 games with a trip to San Diego on Thursday through Saturday to play in the Surf N' Slam Tournament hosted by Scripps Ranch High School.
Due to an early deadline, results from the games were unavailable at press time.