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Lady Buffs struggle to keep pace with Mission San Jose

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Lady Buffs struggle to keep pace with Mission San Jose

Manteca High’s Abigail Behler gets tied up by Katherine Wu of Mission San Jose Wednesday in Tracy.


POSTED December 27, 2012 12:54 a.m.

TRACY — There are still kinks to work out but little time left for Manteca High’s girls basketball team to do so before it begins its defense of a Valley Oak League title share.

The Buffaloes struggled to execute offensively in a 53-31 loss to Mission San Jose Wednesday at West High’s Steve Thornton Gym.

Lathrop is the only area team to open the Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament victorious with East Union — the VOL’s other reigning co-champ — also losing its first-round contest. Manteca continues tourney action at 3 p.m. today and is sure to tangle with another quality opponent, be it undefeated Gregori or battle-hardened El Camino.

Manteca has three more games over the next three days to fine tune its game in time for next Wednesday’s league opener against Lathrop.

“I would like to get us to a level where Mission is right now,” first-year Manteca coach Cody Norman said of the Fremont-based Warriors (6-3), who reached the Division I semifinals of the North Coast Division playoffs.

“It’s good for us to face a team like that, they were a well-ran machine. We know what to do but we are not doing it on a consistent basis. We’re just trying to get that consistency so that by the time we get to league we’re not searching for answers.”

The Buffaloes had their best stretch late in the third quarter. Trailing by as much as 23 at one point, they closed the period on a 9-0 run punctuated by Jessica Hasal’s 3-pointer. Mission took its 39-24 lead into the fourth and answered with eight unanswered points, a burst sparked by back-to-back 3s converted by Alysha Bedell and Alexa Iwatani. 

Iwatani caught fire early and never cooled off, burying two of her four 3-pointers in the first quarter and ending up with 18 points overall. Bedell had 10 points, and all-around standout Katherine Wu added six points, 15 rebounds and six steals.

Manteca had its chances to stay within range in the first half but was off the mark on many point-blank layups and made just four of 13 overall attempts from the foul line. Mission San Jose led 14-5 and 30-12 after the first two quarters, respectively.

“Poor shooting again kind of hurt us, and even from the free-throw line we’re not making our shots,” Norman said. “If we made three or four of them layups that we missed in the first half and three or four of those free throws then it’s a different game and we could attack it differently.”

Mikayla Hasal was Manteca’s top scorer with seven points. Jasmine Odell ripped down nine rebounds but was held to four points.

Lathrop 50, West 49

Jamie Metcalfe drilled a clutch 3-pointer,and Akilah Lesley hit two free throws with 3.2 seconds left as the Spartans (4-5) came through for a mild upset over tournament co-host West (8-5).

“We lost a couple of close ones (by a combined three points) in the Cosumnes Oaks Tournament last week, so we’re happy to be on the winning side of a game like this,” Lathrop coach Ed Fang said.

Taylor Conley spearheaded a balanced scoring effort for Lathrop with 12 points. Marissa Elliot added nine, Janet Visaya seven and Briana Fernandez converted back-to-back long-range attempts for all of her six points.

Lathrop gets another stern test tonight when they take on 9-1 Patterson at 7:30.

Modesto 35, East Union 31

Across town at Tracy High’s Swenson Gym, the Lancers (2-5) dropped a second close defeat to Modesto this month.

East Union was down by 10 points to start the fourth quarter and did well to slice the deficit to two, but missed free throws and 26 turnovers ultimately did it in.

Olivia Vezaldenos racked up 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists for EU. Modesto’s Tia Patterson scored 10 points. East Union squares off with Tokay at 4:30 back.


Weston Ranch 49, Irvington 12

Teresa Haley and Kelli Laughlin tallied 12 points apiece as the Cougars took charge from the start. They carried a sizable 20-2 lead into the second quarter and coasted from there.

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