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Manteca silences Thunder early with transition game

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Manteca silences Thunder early with transition game

Manteca forward Cynthia Perez goes up strong for two of her 14 points against visiting Buhach Colony Tuesday.


POSTED December 23, 2009 2:39 a.m.

Not even the running clock in the fourth quarter could slow down the Manteca Buffaloes, who trampled Buhach Colony of Atwater 76-31 Tuesday at Winter Gymnasium.

Four different players finished in double figures for Manteca (4-3) despite limited playing time. Davina Bennett was the beneficiary of the Buffaloes’ effective press break, as she finished with a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds.

Winless Buhach (0-6), which has five freshmen to just one senior on the roster, lost ground early and trailed 14-3 with 3:04 left in the first.
Manteca took leads of 22-7 and 48-20 after each of the first two periods despite several missed layups, but there were more than enough point-blank attempts off its full-court press to make up for them. The margin reached 30 just 44 seconds into the third when Bennett rattled in the first of her three straight transition buckets.

Execution was hardly the issue, though finishing was, but what coach Andrea Hiatt wanted to see most was relentless effort after a lackluster showing led to a 62-39 loss to Grace Davis last week. Manteca forced 27 turnovers, including 11 in the first quarter, Tuesday and outrebounded the Thunder, 39-27.

“I saw more intensity,” Hiatt said. “Last Thursday we just came out flat and couldn’t get anything going. So we talked about setting the tone early, getting out on the fastbreak and score easy buckets to put them in a situation.”

Guards Sharon Washington and freshman Mikayla Hasal were at their best in transition, finding teammates streaking toward the hoop or creating their own opportunities.

Washington finished with 12 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals. Hasal added 11 points and four assists, and senior forward Cynthia Perez chipped in 14 points and five boards.

There wasn’t a noticeable drop-off when the starters were out. Brianna Wallace led the reserves with nine points, all scored in the second quarter, and five rebounds.

“We were able to rotate girls in and out, and the bench players were very productive and gave us a lot of good minutes,” Hiatt said. “Brianna Wallace had a great game. She just stepped right in and we didn’t miss a beat.

“It’s nice to have someone come in and fill Davina Bennett’s shoes, because those are tough shoes to fill.”

The Buffaloes will cap their non-league schedule with the four-day Tom Hawkins Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament starting with traditional powerhouse El Camino at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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