Tyler Martinez scored 27 points, including six 3-point shots, to lead Cate over Santa Clara 71-66 to open Tri-Valley League play Friday.

Cate played without leading scorer and rebounder Babacar Pouye, out with an ankle injury.

The Rams hit a total of 10 3-pointers for the game to keep Santa Clara’s multiple runs at bay.

Martinez also played hard on defense to slow down Santa Clara’s Tony Barrera in the second half.

“I want to credit Jacob Gabbay and Peter Lehman for being the floor generals and directing the offense,” Cate coach Andy Gil said. “Peter took two huge charges in the paint at critical moments in the third and fourth quarter. Jacob Gabbay was fantastic in the second half, finishing with 10 points and two huge 3s.”

Sophomore Marcus Scudder finished with 12 points, making the most of limited minutes due to foul trouble.

Freshman Josh Butler knocked down a big 15-footer to end the first half and keep the Rams’ spirits high with a 37-32 halftime lead.

Utility man Jengus Ercil finished with 11 points.

“He does so many things for us on O and D, and is so shifty, it helps us always,” Gil said.

“Today was a team win and it feels good to get the first league win.”

Cate plays next week at Santa Ynez on Tuesday and at Laguna Blanca on Wednesday.

Laguna Blanca lost to Foothill Tech in the consolation round of the Thacher Tournament Friday, 72-62.

The Owls led most of the first half and settled for a 31-31 tie at halftime. The Dragons opened a big lead with a 21-5 third quarter run, and through the Owls narrowed the gap in the fourth, Foothill Tech made free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

Charlie Sheldon scored 16 points and collected six rebounds for Laguna Blanca, and Carson Stewart scored 19 and tallied nine rebounds.  

“We are starting to do some things well,” Owls coach Phil Sherman said. “The challenge for our group is to do them consistently and not slip up like we did in the third  quarter.”

Noozhawk correspondent Dennis Moran can be reached at sports@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.