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BOYS BASKETBALL: Bearcats Fall in 3-point Blur

Terra Nova drills 13 from long distance to hand San Mateo road loss, Bearcats drop to 1-12 in busy season-opening stretch.

The Score: Terra Nova 61, San Mateo 54.

The Star: San Mateo High's Jordan Wong drilled five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points in the Bearcats' non-league road loss on Wednesday night.

The Turning Point: After a downbeat first quarter for both teams, Terra Nova revved up in the second frame behind Nick Manessis' 13 second-quarter points, outscoring the Bearcats 23-15 to take a 28-20 lead it would hold for the remainder of the contest.

The Quote: "Where did that come from?" -- Terra Nova coach Kenny Milch, surprised at the Tigers' unprecedented 13 3-pointer outburst.

What's Next? San Mateo gets a short respite from a grueling early-season schedule that has seen the Bearcats play 13 games since Dec. 2. San Mateo takes the court against San Leandro on Tuesday in the St. Francis Holiday Classic in Mountain View.

The Bottom Line: San Mateo has faced a taxing schedule to open the season, but all this game experience should come in handy when the Bearcats open up Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division play at Sequoia on Jan. 12.

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The San Mateo High boys basketball team fell to Terra Nova 61-54 on Wednesday, dropping a three-point shootout that gave the host Tigers their first victory of the season.

San Mateo (1-12) fell victim to Terra Nova's creative use of its height advantage. Instead of trying to own the low posts like most teams are apt to do, the Tigers rained down 13 3-pointers, forming an altitudinous arsenal from beyond the arc that overwhelmed the Bearcat defense.

"All our big guys are on vacation," said San Mateo coach Julian Hudson. "The problem is we just don't play sound defensive pressure. We had too many lapses. I thought it wasn't really size, it was just that outside shot. They made mostly threes, but they were free looks with no pressure."

Terra Nova did most of its damage in the middle two quarters, when the Tiger shooters settled into a hot streak that saw them outscore San Mateo 42-33, hitting nine of their 13 threes during that period.

Paul Titchener, a 6-foot-6 forward, topped Terra Nova with 21 points, including four baskets from long distance. Six-foot-2 guard Nick Manessis added 16 points, including four threes.

"We work on that," said Terra Nova coach Kenny Milch. "Traditionally I give my players the green light. I want them to feel confident that they can let fly at any time. Not only did they let it fly, but it was dropping."

San Mateo guard Jordan Wong, a more compact sniper than the towering Tigers, topped all shooters with five threes and a game-high 22 points. Benjamin Skelton added 12 points for the Bearcats, whose lone win came over Yerba Buena in the Fremont Christmas Classic last weekend.

Both teams scuffled out the gate, managing a 5-5 tie after the first quarter. They turned the second period into a track meet though, scoring back and forth, up and down the court. By the end of the quarter, the two squads had combined for 38 points, with Terra Nova taking a 28-20 lead.

"We're coming along," said Hudson. "We were having some problems just as far as effort. I think this preseason, so far, has shown the kids why they need to listen and focus and pay attention."

San Mateo will certainly enjoy getting a few days rest over the holiday break. The Bearcats have taken the court 13 times since their season began Dec. 2. Hudson specifically front-loaded the schedule to challenge his team before the start of Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division play Jan. 12.

"We needed some game experience," said Hudson. "My plan was, now for this winter break, to have a time to practice. We have film we can go over to know what we need to work on. We'll see how it works out this year."

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Terra Nova 61, San Mateo 54

SM -- 5 15 18 16 -- 54

TN -- 5 23 19 14 – 61

SM: J. Wong 7 1-1 22, Skelton 4 3-3 12, Washington 3 2-2 8, Yamauchi 2 3-4 8, Talwar 1 0-0 2, Earnest 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 9- 10 54

TN: P. Titchener 6 5-5-7 21, Manessis 6 0-0 16, Mailangi 3 0-0 9, Vargas 3 0-0 7, Rocafor 1 0-0 3, Spalholz 1 0-0 2, J. Titchener 1 0-0 2, De Souza 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 5-7 61.

3-point goals: SM: J. Wong 5, Skelton, Yamauchi. TN: P. Titchener 4, Manessis 4, Mailangi 3, Vargas, Rocafor.

Records: San Mateo 1-12 Terra Nova 1-4.

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