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Buffaloes grab Crusader Classic victory

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POSTED December 27, 2009 1:49 a.m.
SALIDA – The Manteca Buffaloes wanted to close out its non-league schedule in the always-challenging Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic for a reason and its 81-68 win over San Leandro High got things going in the right direction.

The Buffaloes (7-1) opened the game on one of their customary hot starts, jumping out on the Pirated 25-15 after one period of play. San Leandro chipped back in it, outscoring Manteca in the second quarter, but strong offensive production over the final two periods would propel Manteca into the winner’s bracket second-round.

“We pretty much led the entire game,” Manteca head coach Dave Asuncion said. “We really played well to open up the game and came out and executed offensively and defensively in the second-half.”

The Buffaloes were led by junior standout Kiwi Gardner, who provided a game-high 33-point effort to lead all scorers. Teammate Ernie Pimentel had a strong night on the offensive end, finishing with 23.The Buffaloes outscored San Leandro (6-2) 41-37 in the final two periods.

Manteca’s victory will set up the team’s most interesting matchup to date as they take on Inglewood High from Southern California.  The two teams are scheduled for monday’s 5:30 p.m. tip-off, with the winner resting one victory away from the hoop classic championship.

“San Leandro was a really good team and we were excited to play them,” Asuncion said. “Now, you here a lot about Inglewood and the players that have come from that program and we know it’s a great opportunity to get better.

“That is exactly what we are looking forward to doing.”

Clovis East 90, Ripon 49
The Indians held a 23-17 lead after the first period, but a 29-12 Clovis East second quarter run changed things in a hurry as Ripon dropped its first round contest of the Holiday Hoops Classic.

Matt Ratto scored 14 points to lead the Indians, including a pair of 3-pointers, while teammates Cody Wengel, Jake McCreath and Andy Bunting all chipped in with eight.

“We were ahead after the first quarter, Ripon head coach Rod Wright said. “But they went on a run in the second and we could not recover. We were pretty much out of gas at that point.”

The Timberwolves took advantage of a deep bench, rotating lineups without cease over the first 16 minutes. Ripon’s lack of depth proved to be too challenging of a hurdle to conquer.

“They were able to run 12 guys out there non-stop,” Wright said. “And that is just something that we are not able to do. The first quarter we played excellent, we did a great job of doing all of the little things right.”

Ripon (4-6) will look to bounce back with a strong showing in its loser’s bracket contest, when they matchup with loser of the Fremont-Centennial contest Monday at 10 a.m.
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