The Mokelumne Hill Elementary School sixth grade boys’ basketball team began its season Tuesday, Dec. 12 on the road against Copperopolis Elementary School. The Gophers lost to the Cougars 42-41.

In the first quarter, Mokelumne Hill got four points from Ryan Ringlein, followed by three from Aidan Rexell and two from Derek Cloward, but trailed the Cougars 13-9.

The Gophers made a run in the second quarter, with Earl Wood leading the way with 16 points to give Mokelumne Hill a 25-18 halftime lead.

Copperopolis responded in the third quarter by outscoring Mokelumne Hill 16-5 to take a 34-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

The final period was back-and-forth, with the Cougars able to hold on for the win.

“The small court is challenging to play on if you’re not used to it,” said Gopher head coach Blaine Wood. “The 3-point shot is out of the equation in Copper, but I’m proud of the fight my kids showed. We didn’t give up any easy buckets in the paint and we made them earn every shot.”

Earl Wood scored 29 points for the Gophers.

There was much more to celebrate when the Gophers took on Sutter Creek Elementary School on Thursday, Dec. 14. For the first time in three years, Mokelumne Hill sixth grade basketball won a home game, picking up a 29-18 victory.

Earl Wood led the Gophers with 22 points and made six out of eight free throws. Cloward contributed three points in the win, while Ryan Ringlein scored two.

“Great team defense was a major contributor to our win,” said Blaine Wood. “Diezel Martin in his first year playing was terrific defending his low post position. He showed discipline and didn’t get sucked out.”

Mokelumne Hill is now 1-1.

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