There were signs by the Tokay High boys basketball team that defense looked solid.
Then it was Florin’s turn on defense. That led to the visiting Panthers posting a 68-35 win over Tokay in their non-league game at The Jungle on Friday.
“No excuses,” said Tokay coach Chris Boss of his team’s play. “We’ve just got to figure out how to execute for a full 32 minutes.”
Today at 12:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena, Tokay (0-3) will end a week in which it played four games. The Tigers will take on Venture Academy, out of Stockton, in the first-ever High School Classic at the arena. The Stockton Kings, the G-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, will play the Iowa Wolves, the G-League team of the Minnesota Timberwolves, at 7 p.m.
Florin held a narrow 17-15 lead halfway through the second quarter. Although Tokay’s offense tried to create open shots inside the paint and near the arc, its defense forced the Panthers into turnovers near the paint and mid-court. During that time frame, junior forward Ryker Henne scored five of his nine points in the quarter for Tokay.
Then in the final four minutes of the quarter, the Panthers’ defense stepped up. Florin used a half-court press and was aggressive when the Tigers were near their basket. That transition into offensive possessions for Panthers, who were led by Jarod Webb as he scored six of game-high 27 points in the quarter. That led to Florin, out of Sacramento, to a 30-18 lead with two minutes remaining before halftime.
“Florin did a great job in getting up in our face (s),” Boss said.
Aiyaz Meir canned a 3-pointer under a minute for the Tigers. But the Panthers walked into the locker room with a 30-21 lead.
“We were actually looking more for 3-pointers than actually driving,” said Boss of Tigers’ efforts of scoring from the field.
Tokay stayed within reach of the Panthers most of the third quarter. Harmdallah El Kheidi canned two, 3-pointers that kept the Tigers within striking distance of taking the lead. Florin held three to five-point leads throughout the first five minutes of that quarter; Florin had leads of 34-29 and 32-27.
Then Webb, a center, caught on fire for the Panthers. He scored 12 points that included a 3-pointer and sank 3 of 3 free throws. That led to a 50-29 advantage over the Tigers at the end of three quarters.
On top of that, the Tigers made 4 of 12; Gurveer Bodyal and Henne each made 2 of 4 in the final eight minutes of the game.
El Kheidi was next in scoring for Tokay with eight points. Meir followed with six points, Bodyal and Hamdallah El Kheidi each had four and Uri Penaflor and Nate Starkovich each had two.
Florin’s Malik Madison and Tamonz Cumming, both centers for Florin, each had 11 points for their team.
“The big difference was their bigs,” said Boss of Madison and Cumming.
Oakdale 57, Tokay 41
In another non-league game at The Jungle on Wednesday, Hamza El Kheidi had 18 points for Tokay. Hamdallah El Kheidi finished with nine, Merrill six, Wasiq three, Gurveer Badyal and Henne each had two and Meir one.
The results of this game is running in today’s issue because the News-Sentinel went to an early deadline for Thursday and Friday’s issues because of Thanksgiving.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.