The tough road continued for members of the Oakdale High School boys varsity basketball team, as they came up short on Friday night, Feb. 6 against Sierra. The Mustangs suffered a 53-34 road loss to the Timberwolves (14-11, 5-6).
Oakdale (11-14, 0-10) led 7-4 after the first quarter but found themselves in a hole that they could not climb out of the rest of the way.
“The boys never quit, that’s something I can honestly say they have not done at all this season,” said Mustangs coach Hondo Arpoika. “No matter what the situation is or was during the season, they never gave up or backed down.”
Jackson Holt led Oakdale with a dozen points and Michael Echavarria had 10. Jonah Norman and Nathan Criswell each had six points for the Mustangs.
On Saturday, non-league action saw the varsity team take a win off the court, hosting Franklin and defeating the visitors by a 71-39 final. A strong second half lifted Oakdale to the victory, leaving them with a 12-14 overall record for the campaign. They also honored their two seniors on Saturday, recognizing Michael Echavarria and Peyton Bradford in Senior Night festivities at the non-league contest.
The two had some thoughts on their participation in the Mustang basketball program.
“It was never easy,” said Echavarria. “All three of my varsity years I had little sparks of potential; but it wasn’t until my senior year I felt most comfortable and I could truly prove myself to others. It’s a good feeling when you’re considered an underdog no matter your opponent and you’re able to show other teams you can keep up with them and that you belong in the VOL just like any other rival teams.”
Peyton Bradford, meanwhile, provided a big presence for the team on the boards and always wanted to be in the thick of the action.
“Basketball has been an adventure to say the least. I enjoyed most everything about it and it takes a tough individual to be a part of the program.” Bradford said. “Got to be able to think, adapt and be Mustang tough like (coach) Arpoika hammers into us every day. It was an honor to play basketball at Oakdale High.”
The Mustangs wrap up their season this week. Oakdale will travel to Tracy to take on Kimball (11-16, 3-8) on Wednesday, Feb. 12. The Jaguars defeated Oakdale 53-52 on Jan. 24. On Friday night, Feb. 14 the boys will play their final game of the season as they travel to Modesto to take on Valley Oak League leaders Central Catholic (19-7, 10-0). Oakdale battled with the Raiders on Jan. 15 and lost 61-42. Tip off for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For the junior varsity boys, Oakdale defeated Sierra 49-42 on Friday night. Oakdale used a monster performance from Johnny Wylie to cruise past the Timberwolves. Wylie scored 31 points and Jake Kjeldgaard added 17 points in the win. The team notched their second win of the week on Saturday, getting past Franklin of Stockton in a 65-42 contest in Oakdale. This week, the JV boys will play Kimball and Central Catholic on the road, Wednesday and Friday, respectively, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Oakdale’s freshman team fell to the Timberwolves 41-27. Cooper Pitney led the team with seven points. They came back to get a win against Franklin on Saturday, 69-65. The youngest of the basketball teams will finish the season on the road against Kimball and Central Catholic with games scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.