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Verhoeven kept Buffs competitive after state title run

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POSTED April 15, 2017 12:20 a.m.

Tydus Verhoeven’s “long journey” for the Manteca High boys basketball team ended with heartache, but it’s far outweighed by the many highlights that led up to that point.
The Manteca Bulletin All-Area MVP led the Buffaloes to a Valley Oak League crown — the only one in his four-year varsity career — after they lost three starters to graduation from their historic CIF State Division III championship squad. Among those departing were 6-foot-9 center Kenny Wooten and Anand Hundal, and they were essentially replaced by two juniors and a sophomore — all guards.
Verhoeven, along with fellow senior Dwight Young, carried Manteca to a 24-7 record, which included notable wins over Central Section powerhouse Immanuel (23-9), talented San Diego Section foe Rancho Mirage (28-4) in the 20th annual MaxPreps/De La Salle Martin Luther King Jr. Classic and two against Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion Central Catholic (26-8).
The Buffaloes rolled to 17 straight victories at one point, but their season ended with successive defeats. In their quest for a SJS Division III banner, they stumbled in the semifinals against Capital Christian 64-57 after rolling out to a 19-point first-half lead. 
The following week, Manteca’s defense of its state title ended in the first round, as 11th-seeded Foothill of Palo Cedro escaped Winter Gym with a 73-68 triumph over the No. 5 seed in the NorCal tournament.
“We had a good year, but of course we fell short of two of our goals,” Verhoeven said. “But everybody looked at us and thought we wouldn’t be as good as last year and that we don’t have a chance to do this and that. We won 17 straight games and were able to make some noise. For this team it’s overachieving.
“After being on that state (championship) team I hate losing in the state playoffs, but I think we were able to prove people wrong this year.”
As for Verhoeven, his senior season was the culmination of his evolving role on the program and expanding skillset. He went from timid freshman with massive potential to a budding sophomore, but willingly took on a supporting role his junior year, often deferring to Wooten and Hundal.
“It’s been a long journey, and I have to admit every year was a little different,” Verhoeven said. “I grew a lot as a player over the four years. Coming in my freshman year I was basically a defender, and that quickly progressed to me being looked at as a guy who needed to carry the team my sophomore year.
“(Junior) year was an adjustment because we tailored our offense around the bigs, but during our state run we became more balanced. This year, I had the opportunity to show out all my skills. I wanted to show that I can be not just a leading scorer but a rebounder and top passer.”
The 6-7, 215-pound Verhoven, who boasts a 7-foot wingspan, averaged 16.6 points, 12/7 rebounds and 6.0 blocks — all team-highs. His 3.2 assists per game are second to point guard Matt Ender.
It didn’t take him long to put all of his skills on display. In the team’s season-opening loss to Lincoln, he scored a single-game career-high (which he would later match in a playoff game) 32 points to go with 15 rebounds and six blocks. Seven days later, he led the Buffaloes to a win over Gregori with his 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks — the first of four triple-doubles.
He proved to be a capable scorer, but Verhoeven wants to affect games in a variety of ways.
“There are not a lot of guys who can rebound, score in the low block, handle, pass and take defenders one-on-one,” Verhoeven said. “That’s huge. I’ve worked hard to be well-rounded, even on defense. I take a lot of pride in that.”
The next stage of Verhoven’s journey is still a mystery.
Verhoeven has received offers from many NCAA mid-major programs on the West Coast but remains unsigned. He has maintained all along that he’ll enjoy his final year of high school and make the big decision sometime in the spring.
For now, he’s helping the school make even more history; he’s a middle blocker for the first-year boys volleyball team, which is undefeated in the VOL.
“(Establishing) a winning mentality, that really took hold during high school for me,” Verhoeven said. “I hope to take that to the next level.”

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