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Buffaloes sink Weston Ranch with free-throws

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Buffaloes sink Weston Ranch with free-throws

Sharon Washington races up the court in Manteca's 54-44 win over the host Weston Racnh Cougars Friday.


POSTED January 9, 2010 3:15 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – During a timeout with 3:08 remaining and Manteca clinging to a four-point lead, the Buffaloes and host Weston Ranch went  over what it would take to close out their physical Valley Oak League matchup with a win.

Manteca’s clutch free-throw shooting and poor offensive execution for the Cougars provided the difference, sending the visiting Buffaloes home with a 54-44 VOL win. Manteca finished 3-0 start in the league’s first week of play.

“We didn’t take care of the ball,” Weston Ranch head coach Chris Bauer said. “We just kept turning the ball over. We were able to cut it down to two and then we turned it over three times in a row.

“If you can’t value the ball, you can’t win a game.”

Manteca cherished each of its late possessions, taking care of the basketball and flourishing at the foul stripe. The Buffaloes nailed 19-of-25 free throws, including going 8-for-8 in the game’s final minutes.

“It was all about composure in that fourth quarter,” Manteca head coach Andrea Hiatt said. “This game got a little bit out of control at times, emotions were running high and it was a very physical game, but they made those shots down the stretch when it mattered.”

Freshman point guard Mikayla Hasal and team-leader Sharon Washington calmly dropped eight consecutive free throws, four apiece, eliminating any chances of a last-second Cougar comeback.

The Buffaloes trailed by a bucket heading into the second, but outscored Weston Ranch 11-4 in the second period to go into halftime with a five-point lead.

The Cougars (1-1, 8-5) put together a solid third quarter, outscoring Manteca behind the scoring of Timnesha Wilson and Jazmin Strane. Wilson hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the third, chopping Manteca’s lead to two and lifting her Cougar teammates’ collective spirit.

But that would be as close as Weston Ranch would come, putting forth a valiant effort, but falling short in comparison to the Buffaloes play in the final period.

“It was very important for our team to come in here and get a win,” Manteca’s Cynthia Perez said. “We want to take our season far. All of us believe in each other, we practice really hard and we have a goal.

“We want to play together as a team and take each game on game at a time.”

Perez turned in a game-high 15 points, scoring the first six points in the fourth quarter and giving the Buffaloes some separation. Washington finished with 14 points, while Davina Bennett and Hasal both chipped in with nine.

Wilson was the leading scorer for the Cougars with 14, while Strane added 11 and Courtney Duran finished with eight. Emoni Wilson played well on defense and added six points on the offensive end.

Manteca will try and build on its week-one momentum when it play host to the Ceres Bulldogs Tuesday. The Cougars will be forced to make a quick rebound when they travel east to Sonora to take on the Wildcats.

“We’ll build on this loss,” Bauer said. “We’ll watch video on Monday and find what we have to do and then work on it and go from there.

“We will use it as a learning experience; that’s all we can do.”
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