Nyaabila Apambire put on a show and gave his teammates a boost of confidence.
Now the Damonte Ranch boys basketball team has to build off its 62-45 win over Wooster on Tuesday at Wooster.
Apambire, who returned to the Mustangs in mid-December, scored 22 points, including some rim-rattling slam dunks, both frontwards and backwards, and Drew Damboise added 18 for the Mustangs (2-5).
Apambire (6-foot-4) said he likes to attack the rim. It showed on Tuesday. On one of his dunks, he picked up a loose ball in the paint with his back to the basket and slammed it home for a reverse dunk.
“I’m hungry for it. We started off this year slow, so from this point on we’re trying to work hard and play better in the first half,” he said. “We’ve been starting off games slow.”
Damonte led, 25-16 at the half.
Apambire said a big focus for the team is getting out to better starts in games.
“We have a chance to beat every team in this league, but we just need to start playing at our tempo instead of playing at the other teams tempo,” he said.
Damonte coach DJ Moore said his team has been up and down so far this season. But he’s glad to have Apambire back.
“He’s been huge for us. He’s been making plays on both ends and we needed it,” Moore said of Apambire. “We needed it. He’s ready to go.”
Moore said the first half of the season was mainly about getting some of the new players varsity experience.
“We’ve played good teams very well, but we still haven’t beat them,” Moore said. “Once we get one, we’re going to believe that we can do it.”
Damonte hosts Douglas on Friday.
Myster Smith led the Colts (0-7) with 22 points, Ben Ginn added nine and Tyler Vetter had eight.
Wooster did not get to practice since Friday because its gym was used as a shelter for flood victims.
“You could tell too, we had so many open looks and they just didn’t fall,” coach Jose Parra said.
He said rebounding has been a struggle, but he was happy with the effort.
“It looked like we cared tonight,” he said. “We knock down some shots and it’s a different game.”
Wooster is at Galena on Friday.
Also Tuesday, in Sierra League action, Carson beat Galena, 47-43 as Tez Allen had 20 points for the Senators.
Bishop Manogue downed Douglas, 76-51 as Aidan Cantwell scored 19 points, Kolton Frugoli had 16 and Ramon Mendoza had 12.
In the High Desert League, Spanish Springs (7-0) beat McQueen (3-4), 71-54.
Reno beat Hug, 55-39, and Reed beat North Valleys, 85-65.