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TOO BUFF

Range, MHS throttle Sierra; nets 21 in win

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TOO BUFF

Manteca’s Jasmine Odell battles Sierra’s Valeria Nestor for a rebound during Wednesday’s Valley Oak League rivalry game.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED January 17, 2013 12:28 a.m.

 

Courtney Range grabbed a seat on the bench with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, and then…

Well, then the varsity game began.

The previous two-and-a-half quarters, much like the first four games of the Valley Oak League season, were nothing more than a college showcase for Range, Manteca’s 6-foot-3 senior.

“She’s a solid player,” Sierra coach Stephan Unterholzner said following his team’s 66-35 loss on Wednesday evening. “She can shoot the ball well from outside. Rebound inside.

“But Manteca isn’t just Courtney Range. They have shooters all over the place. The Hasal sisters. Jasmine Odell can drive. Courtney is one tool of many.”

But Cal-bound guard is the sharpest in coach Cody Norman’s collection, and she proved it again in limited action on Wednesday evening. Range scored a game-high 21 points in just 20 minutes, pacing a four-prong attack that struck inside and out.

Odell scored 10 points, while Mikayla and Jasmine Hasal (three 3-pointers) had nine apiece for Manteca (11-5), which stretched its season-best winning streak to six games.

The two-time defending VOL champs are 5-0 in league; its ledger flush with double-digit victories.

“I still don’t think we’ve played our best game yet,” said Norman, whose team rocketed out to a 22-4 lead. “We’ve still got lots to work on, half of which I think is mental. There are those moments when we sputter for like four or five minutes. It happened tonight in the second quarter.

“If we’re lucky enough to make playoffs, we can’t have those moments.”

Range cleans up a lot of Manteca’s mistakes, and her size and scoring ability create opportunities for the all that talent buzzing around her.

She scored 10 points in the second quarter, including a straightaway 3-pointer and coast-to-coast layup. On one possession, she rebounded her own miss twice, setting herself up for easier shots each time.

By the end of the sequence, Range had moved from the 3-point arc to the low block.

But it was her rebounding, length in the full-court press and vision that shined brighter than her highlight pink sneakers on Wednesday. She hit Mikayla Hasal in stride with a 40-foot bullet pass at the start of the third quarter, and her wingspan anchored the Buffs’ press.

“If you look at her stats, it’s like ‘Wow.’ To me, though, she might have one or two ‘Wow’ moments a game. The rest of the time she’s just playing basketball,” Norman said. “We’re not just setting up plays for her. She’s doing the little things – passing the ball and getting it back, crashing the boards.

“She’s one of our most unselfish players. She really trusts her teammates and wants them to do well.”

Range showed that side, too.

Norman summoned her to the bench with 3:27 left in the third quarter with Manteca ahead comfortably 57-21, leveling the playing field for the final 11-plus minutes of this rivalry game.

Sierra won the game within a game, outscoring Manteca 14-9 in that stretch. Underholzner was proud of the way his team competed tip to final whistle.

“The kids showed hustle and fight,” he said, “which was good to see.”

The Timberwolves (1-4, 5-12) have lost six of their last seven games, but the future is bright with freshmen guards Kayla Wilson and Katelyn Teixeira and sophomore Celine Barber in the fold.

Wilson paced Sierra with a hard-fought 10 points, many of which came over the outstretched arm of Range. Teixeira had nine, including a second-quarter 3.

Barber didn’t play because of injury.

“That put a damper on it for us,” Underholzner said.

Sophomores

Manteca 52, Sierra 35

Manteca got a double-double from Alyssa Burch, who finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Teammate Beth Aschenbrenner chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds.

Freshmen

Sierra 51, Manteca 43

Three players scored in double figures for Sierra, which improved to 5-0 in Valley Oak League play. Debbie Devicoglio and Trayana Davis had 15 points apiece, while Kendelle Messersmith finished with 11.

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