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Sierra boys put on defensive clinic

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Sierra boys put on defensive clinic

Sierra guard Emmanuel Elijah flies to the cup as Manteca forward Michael Hatfield (40) looks on during the Timberwolves’ 63-36 victory on Tuesday.

Photo By SEAN KAHLER/Special to the Bulletin


POSTED January 16, 2013 12:15 a.m.

When a talented Sierra High team opened the contest poised to make a statement on the defensive end, it spelled trouble for the Manteca Buffaloes.

Sierra put on a defensive clinic in the first quarter, holding Manteca to a single bucket en route to a 63-36 win Tuesday.

The Valley Oak League matchup between crosstown rivals was as one-sided a contest as the two have played in recent memory. Sierra closed the first quarter on a 17-2 run, getting points from each player in the starting lineup and forcing Manteca into 11 turnovers before the Timberwolves had one.

“Sierra did a great job defensively getting us out of what we wanted to do,” Manteca head coach Dave Asuncion said. “Our guards have got to learn to take pressure. Sierra really put it on and we really didn’t handle it well.”

It would have been a stiff challenge for any VOL squad – any from the past decade.

Sierra contested each and every pass, challenged every perimeter shot and ball hawked every Manteca guard. The group’s intensity on the defensive end seemed to intimidate the Buffaloes for stretches. After faltering early, Manteca put together a third-quarter run to cut Sierra’s lead to 38-26.

The Timberwolves would respond, peeling off a 10-0 run.

“A really good effort on the defensive end,” Sierra head coach Scott Thomason said. “Active hands, active feet, we were rotating and jumping to the ball; very good team defense for us. We probably let up a little bit. We wanted to sustain our effort and play for 32 minutes. Overall, I think we imposed our will on them with a great defensive effort throughout the game.”

The Buffaloes had been putting together quality starts over the opening stretch of VOL play, getting strong post play and perimeter production from junior Austin Haro. Haro was non-existent against the Timberwolves, being constantly harassed by Sierra team-leader Emmanuel Elijah. Haro dropped a deep 3-pointer and a pair of free throws; far below his double-digit first-half in Manteca’s last VOL win over Sonora.

“We were intense on defense and we got after from the very first quarter,” Elijah said. “That was basically our goal, because once we get going on defense everything will take care of itself and it pushes us to work harder on the offensive end.

“It really sets the tone for the whole game.”

Sierra got another explosive outing from senior guard Guillermo Nunez, who opened with 13 points in the first half on his way to a team-high 15. Eric Melgar shot Sierra’s lead back over 20 with a 10-point third quarter. Melgar finished with 12, including back-to-back 3-pointers in transition during his breakout third.

Manteca’s Michael Hatfield led all scorers with 16 points and he also pulled down seven boards.

Sophomore

Sierra 57, Manteca 26

The Timberwolves built a 21-point halftime lead and never relinquished, handling the Manteca Buffaloes Tuesday in VOL play.

Jordan Thompson led Sierra with 13 and Josh Patton also closed in double-figures with 10.

Freshman

Sierra 39, Manteca 36

Sierra (5-0, 13-0) continued its impressive start to the season, fending off the visiting Manteca Buffaloes to remain perfect on the season.

Daniel Wyatt led the club with 13 points.

Sierra will try and make it six straight in VOL play when they travel to Lathrop Thursday.

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