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UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Manteca dispatches Lathrop in preview of VOL opener

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UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Manteca High reserve Alex Jorgensen rises to the hoop against Lathrop’s Eric Spencer. Jorgensen keyed the Buffaloes’ win with 12 points off the bench.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 20, 2012 11:40 p.m.

TRACY — The Manteca and Lathrop boys basketball teams got a taste of what’s to come on Thursday as they prepare to square off against each other in their Valley Oak League opener.

On the final day of the Tracy/West Winter Holiday Classic, it was the Buffaloes of Manteca who prevailed 58-41 in the 11th-place game. Both teams are taking a break from game action next week until meeting on Jan. 2.

Lathrop (4-8) had no answer for 6-foot-6 post Michael Hatfield, who poured in 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. He did it with a variety of post moves in the low block and even nailed a few deep jumpers from the top of the key.

“We just came out and worked out a lot harder,” Hatfield said. “We’ve been coming out flat, but we didn’t today.

“We get bragging rights going into league, but things can change when we see them again.”

Manteca (7-5) led 10-9 going into the second quarter and never trailed from there. Alex Jorgensen provided a big spark off the bench, scoring six points in the first quarter and finishing with 12 to go with four steals.

“I’m (Hatfield’s) backup for the most part. I’m a lot smaller than most post players, so I just have to work harder than them and be physical,” the 6-foot-1 Jorgensen said.

Austin Haro (9 points) hit two of his three 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the Buffaloes expand their advantage. They buried the Spartans for good with 13 unanswered points in the fourth. Brandon Dabney (6 points, 6 assists) capped the run with two straight layups.

Robert Orantes led Lathrop with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. T.J. Conley added nine points and six rebounds. Eric Spencer finished with eight points, five boards and three blocks.

With his team looking to end its nonleague schedule with a win, Lathrop coach Bill Slikker said he wasn’t concerned with showing Manteca too much of what it does.

“Dave (Asuncion, Manteca’s coach) doesn’t do anything that I don’t know about, and I don’t think I do anything that he doesn’t know about,” Slikker said. “It’s just a matter of execution and a will to win, to be honest. His team is a little bit further advanced than mine right now. We have to go back to the drawing board and find a will to win. We’re not giving 100 percent for four quarters.”

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