Seniors Khadim Pouye and Ethan Ng combined for 33 points to lead the Cate boys basketball team past Rio Mesa, 47-41, in a first-round game at the Nordhoff Tournament on Wednesday.

“A great team effort to limit the scoring in the first three quarters,” said Cate coach Andy Gil.

The Rams held the Spartans to 26 points in the first three quarters. Cate led 29-26 and outscored Rio Mesa 18-15 in the fourth quarter.

Ng led the Rams with 17 points and Pouye had 16. Junior Nkemka Chukwumerije was a beast on the boards, pulling down 15 rebounds, while Mason Oetgen was a defensive dynamo, “being all over the court altering shots,” said Gil.

“I’m proud of our guys. We haven’t had a lot of time together but everyday we are improving,” he added. “Their press sped us up but our guards did a good job of controlling the pace and finding the open man.”

The Rams play Malibu on Thursday at 3 p.m.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.