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CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Hasal, Buffs blow past Sierra; title share on line Friday

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CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Manteca High guard Karleasha Thompson jumps into Sierra center Lia Unterholzner while attempting a layup in the second half of Wednesday’s crosstown contest at Winter Gym.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 16, 2012 12:52 a.m.

Two sophomores stole the show on the Manteca High girls basketball team’s senior night Wednesday.

Jessica Hasal continued her late-season breakout for the host Buffaloes, nailing four 3-pointers and a game-high 16 points to highlight a 62-36 victory that gives them a chance to grab a share of the Valley Oak League title this Friday.

Celine Barber, Sierra’s own sophomore sensation, knocked down three 3s and scored 15 points to go with four steals.

Hasal’s emergence comes at the perfect time with Manteca (11-2, 23-3 overall) heading into Friday’s regular-season finale at East Union, which leads the Buffaloes by a game.

With Manteca struggling from the field of late, Hasal has provided a consistent outside-shooting threat the team has lacked for most of the season.

“I think once I got more comfortable I just started taking my shots,” she said. “The team knows that my shot is getting better so they’re looking for me more.”

Manteca had little need of the diminutive guard at the start. Rolling with an all-senior lineup, the Buffaloes scored the game’s first 11 points with Brianna Bell accounting for six of them.

Barber buried two straight 3s late in the quarter to spark the Timberwolves (3-10, 5-20), while Hasal sank her first trey with 1:04 to go. Manteca led 16-8 at the end of the period and outscored its visiting rivals 24-6 in the second to break it open.

The Buffaloes led by as much as 33 with the score at 51-18 late in the third. Sierra opened the fourth with a 14-3 flurry against Manteca’s reserves.

Jasmine Odell had nine points and 10 rebounds for Manteca, which also got eight apiece from Mikayla Hasal and senior standout Karleasha Thompson. Fellow senior Mia Ramirez picked up six steals to go with six points.

Shelby Shirron had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Timberwolves.

“We haven’t been playing well, especially on our home court,” Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt said. “It was nice to come out and play well at home. We’ve been in a little bit of a scoring rut, and tonight we were making the extra pass and getting easy looks.”

“We did not look past this game. We had to come out and play well heading into Friday.”

Sophomore

Manteca 30, Sierra 21

After falling behind 11-8 in the first quarter, Manteca held the Timberwolves to under five points in each of the final three periods.

Peyton Rose led the Buffaloes with 12 points, and Kristen Maestretti had seven points, six rebounds and five steals for Sierra.

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