Melvin Shivers made a confession Wednesday at the Vegas Invitational tournament at Mountain View.
The longtime Rancho boys basketball coach, with a hint of restraint, admitted his team wasn’t doing well.
The Rams, a squad that has struggled mightily with lack of depth and inexperience, lost all of their starters from a season ago.
“We’re a very small team and our best asset is shooting,” Shivers said. “We’re going to shoot our way into the game or we’re going to shoot our way out. But the kids play hard for me. We’re just hoping that the tournament will make us well.”
For Shivers, the antidote to Rancho’s winless woes lied in the soft shooting touch of a rare returnee.
Josiah Timpson, one of only two players on the roster from last season, pumped in 14 of his 25 points in the first half to vault the Rams past Pahrump Valley, 56-38.
The senior guard went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line for Rancho.
“It felt good to get our first win tonight,” Timpson said. “We’ve been waiting all season for this. We kept our composure throughout the game and we were knocking down a lot of open jumpers.”
A strong performance from the behind 3-point arc afforded the Rams (1-8) two key runs. Rancho used a 15-3 stretch, ignited by back-to-back 3-pointers from J’Men Eagles, to build a 30-16 lead. A 15-6 spurt in the third quarter gave the Rams a 47-25 advantage they would never relinquish.
“That’s the best we’ve played all year as far as offense,” Shivers said. “We’re a very young team and we’re still trying to find our way as a team.”
The Trojans, which never led, pinned themselves in an early first-half hole, shooting 27 percent from the field (7-for-26). The Rams’ pressure defense forced Pahrump into poor shot selection from the perimeter. The Trojans (1-11) coughed up a total of 16 turnovers in the half.
“That’s what we’ve been practicing over the holiday,” Shivers said. “We want to turn up the intensity on our defense, hoping it will help us ignite our offense. That helped us. We would make a steal and it would open the floor to make an easy basket. We would turn around and go right into our half-court press, which helped us immensely.”
Senior guard Joseph Ortiz scored eight points for Rancho.
“We’re 0-2 in league,” Shivers said. “We need to be in this tournament to get well. Meaning, we need to win. Now that they’ve tasted victory, hopefully it’ll carry on to league play.”
Junior forward Dalton Beighley scored 13 points for Pahrump. Teammate Quon Cotton added 10 points.
Agassi Prep 57, Moapa Valley 56 — Deishon Booker scored 16 points as the Stars escaped the Pirates’ fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
Moapa Valley outscored Agassi 23-15 in the final period, but Lance Hilton’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer rattled out to preserve the Stars’ victory.
Justin Hughes contributed 14 points for Moapa Valley, which got 13 points from Bunker Wimer.
Calvary Chapel 54, Adelson School 45 — Quintin Hanks had 14 points, and Calvary Chapel outscored Adelson School 18-2 in the fourth quarter to grab the victory.
Drew Hammond chipped in 12 points for Calvary Chapel, which went 12-for-20 from the free-throw line.
Mendi Berrebi had a game-high 15 points for Adelson, which got 11 points from Robert Blackwell.
Sunrise Mountain 88, Lake Mead 70 — Shmarlio Tolliver and Zane Gibbs each scored 20 points to power the Miners past the Eagles.
Jason Ford (18 points) and Ricco Lucas (13 points) also scored in double figures for Sunrise Mountain.
Justin Yamzon scored 21 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter for Lake Mead.
The Meadows 57, Tech 47 — Adam Abdelaziz scored 18 points to help lift the Mustangs past the Roadrunners.
Brian Fridman added 14 points for the Meadows, which held Tech to three second-quarter points.
Josh West paced the Roadrunners with 13 points.
Spring Mountain 63, Abundant Life (Utah) 57 — Develle Williams had 20 points as the Eagles downed the Warriors.
Roemello Tatum added 19 points, connecting on four 3-point shots for Spring Mountain.
Buckley (Calif.) 73, Word of Life 24 — Andrew Schiantarelli scored all of his 14 points, including four 3-point baskets, in the first quarter to power the Griffins past the Eagles.
David Yona chipped in 12 points for Buckley, which led 49-7 at halftime.
Josh Toranzo led Word of Life with 11 points.
Mountain View 47, Sage Hill (Calif.) 41 — Joseph Guevarra had 11 points for the Saints, which outscored the Lightning 11-5 in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Josh Bennett added 10 points for Mountain View.
Tyler Hague had a game-high 17 points for Sage Hill.
Santana (Calif.) 65, Spring Mountain 38 — Christian Barry and Andy Miller each poured in 19 points as the Sultans stymied the Eagles.
Williams paced Spring Mountain with 13 points.