OAKLAND -- Judging by the first few minutes, Wednesday's game between McClymonds and Merced in the first round of the CIF Northern regional Division I boys basketball playoffs had the makings of a blowout.

After jumping out to a 17-2 lead to start the game, McClymonds let Merced claw back into contention. But the Warriors eventually closed it out strong to claim a 56-45 win at Laney College.

McClymonds coach Edgar Jackson wasn't pleased with the way his players eased off the gas pedal, but he still has confidence in the group.

"I feel like the sky's the limit for this team," Jackson said. "I really feel if we play our style of basketball, we can match up well with anybody."

On Wednesday, McClymonds featured three double-digit scorers in Mike Walker (17), Deshawn Nelson (13) and Deion Ellis (11), but it was the defense that had Jackson talking after the game. Behind a suffocating full-court press, McClymonds had Merced flustered early.

"That really set the tone for us," Jackson said. "Our defense was tremendous for us at the beginning of the game."

Merced cut its deficit to 40-39 early in the fourth quarter, but McClymonds would respond with an 11-1 to gain control of the game for good.

McClymonds plays at San Ramon Valley in the second round on Saturday.

McClymonds 56, Merced 45

McClymonds (21-8)

Walker 6 3-4 17, Ellis 6 1-1 13, Nelson 5 1-2 11, Spivey 2 1-2 6, Howard 1 2-2 4, Clark 1 0-0 3, Shabazz 1 0-3 2. Totals 22 8-14 56.

Merced (23-8)

Richard 5 5-8 17, Steward 6 2-6 16, Cook 2 2-3 6, T. Pazin 1 0-0 2, Chairez 1 0-0 2, Gilliam 0 1-2 1, Meyer 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 11-21 45.

Merced 8 12 16 9-- 45

McClymonds 19 12 9 16-- 56

3-point goals: Walker 2, Spivey, Clark, Richard 2, Stewart 2.