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Flat effort allows Inglewood to bounce back

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Manteca post E.J. Godfrey muscles his way into the paint.


POSTED December 29, 2009 3:30 a.m.

Salida — Inglewood showed Manteca respect by slowing the pace after getting beat at its own game.

But that wasn’t the reason for Manteca’s tough-to-swallow 68-57 loss in the second round of the 10th Annual Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic Monday.

The Buffaloes (7-2) scored 12 of the game’s first 14 points and led 24-8 going into the second quarter. They got their points in transition when Inglewood (7-3) was willing to engage in a footrace.

When the tempo slowed, they still got their points in halfcourt by driving to the hoop and hitting outside shots.

Manteca could do no wrong in that first quarter, but over the final three there wasn’t much it could to right — from the unforced turnovers to the second-chance opportunities that Inglewood capitalized on. The Buffaloes were held to just nine points in each of the final two quarters.

The physical miscues were one thing, but the lack of effort was what frustrated Manteca coach Dave Asuncion. Manteca was outrebounded 35-26 and gave up 14 of those boards on the offensive end.

 “We played a little tight in the second half and they outhustled us,” he said. “They did the things they needed to do to win the game.”

“It looked like we played not to lose. We usually match the other team’s intensity. They were real athletic and got rebounds, but we need to do a better job of boxing out.”

Manteca, led by ball-handling dynamo Kiwi Gardner, came into Monday’s second-round with a little buzz behind it after stunning East Bay powerhouse San Leandro 81-68 in the opener Saturday.

Gardner pumped in 18 of his game-high 25 points in the first half for Manteca. Ernie Pimentel also had his shooting touch going for Manteca early on, as he dropped in two 3’s in the first quarter and finished with 17 points overall.

Julius Bilbrew led Inglewood’s comeback by scoring 13 of his 20 points in the second quarter. He also pulled down eight rebounds and had four steals.

Inglewood was still down by halftime, 39-31, but scored 11 unanswered early in the third. The run was capped by Jamie Harper’s 3-pointer that gave Inglewood its first lead at 42-41 with 3:29 left.

Manteca continued to unravel in the fourth quarter. Starting center E.J. Godfrey fouled out with 3:15 left to play, and Gardner was ejected after two technicals with 43.7 seconds to go.

Inglewood’s Gerald Evans went on to sink three of six free throws to put the game out of reach, 66-55. Evans was one of three Sentinels to finish in double figures, ending up with 13 points. Joseff Singleton, a 6-foot-5 forward, added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Inglewood’s pestering defense didn’t bother the Buffaloes at the start, but they committed 20 turnovers by the end.

“We got real sloppy with the ball,” Pimentel said. “That’s why we’re in this tournament; we’re just trying to get better every day, learn from our mistakes and play better basketball. That’s a good team, and we’re going to play another one”

Manteca next plays Clovis East (9-4), which dropped a 94-91 barnburner to Centennial of Compton in another winner’s-bracket quarterfinal Monday, today at 4 p.m.

Ripon 70, Fremont 64
After getting blow out by one of the Central Section’s best, 94-40 against Clovis East, on Saturday, the Indians (5-6) turned around and shocked one of the Los Angeles Section’s top squads.

Matt Ratto sparked Ripon with 33 points, including five 3-pointers on seven attempts, and 10 rebounds. Kody Wengel contributed 16 points and six boards. Tyler Poole dished out five assists to go with seven points.

Fremont’s Sevion Udeh sank eight 3’s for most of his 26 points.

Ripon meets Merced at 1 p.m. for a consolation-bracket contest today.

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