Torres hits milestone as Dinuba downs Kingsburg

Senior wing standout eclipses 1,000 career points in Emperors’ 54-48 victory in final game before league opener

Dinuba High senior forward Brice Watley looks to drive inside on Kingsburg defender Isaak Smith the second quarter of the Emperors’ 54-48 victory over the Vikings on Jan. 4. Senior forward Watley shared game-high scoring honors with 15 points. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published January 5, 2024  • 
11:00 am

DINUBA – A milestone night for Javier Torres carried the Dinuba High boys basketball team past a former Central Sequoia League rival in a final tuneup before the upcoming West Yosemite League season.

The senior guard-forward surpassed the 1,000 career points mark, scoring 15 points and adding 11 rebounds and four assists Thursday night as the Emperors (15-3) pulled away from a tie in the fourth quarter to defeat Kingsburg High, 54-48, before a large crowd at DHS west gym. It marked Dinuba’s third straight win following a three-point loss at Redwood in the quarterfinals of the Polly Wilhelmsen Tournament in Visalia on Dec. 28.

Torres reached the milestone on a steal and layup early in the fourth, as Dinuba broke a tie after three periods and pulled away down the stretch. He added another basket and pair of free throws, and was honored for his accomplishment after the game.

Jeff Schofield, Emperors head coach, said the four-year varsity performer has been a vital cog to the team’s success since a COVID-shortened 2021 season. During Torres’ four seasons, the Emps have gone 70-15 with a 2022 CSL championship.

“We are very proud of Javier, he’s always very unselfish and a team-first guy,” he said. “So this makes his accomplishment even sweeter.”

Brice Watley, who also scored 15 points for Dinuba, had six points in the opening quarter and combined with Torres for 10 of the Emps’ points for a 13-7 lead. The lead extended to eight points at halftime before Kingsburg (9-8) went on a 17-9 run in the third to tie the game at 36 entering the final eight minutes.

Junior guard Josiah Ochoa provided the third scoring option for Dinuba, finishing with 13 points while hitting 3 of his 9 3-point attempts. The Vikings stayed close thanks to a 36-31 rebound advantage, and Jensen Hirschkorn led the visitors’ scoring with 12 points. Max Warkentin collected two of the team’s four 3-points during the third quarter.

Dinuba, which finished second to Lemoore High in its initial WYL campaign in 2022-23, opens league season at home on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The Emps then travel to Tulare for a 7:15 p.m. matchup Friday, Jan. 12 at Tulare Western (10-7), before returning home to play Lemoore (11-6) on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Jon Earnest