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Range’s 26 points lifts Manteca past Kimball

Missed free throws, last-second layup in OT doom Jaguars

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Range’s 26 points lifts Manteca past Kimball

Manteca’s Courtney Range drives to the basket with Kimball defender Megan Bhathal on her heels.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 1, 2013 12:04 a.m.

Clutch free-throw shooting from Courtney Range and a fortunate bounce in the winning seconds propelled Manteca High’s girls basketball team in another close Valley Oak League win Thursday at Winter Gym.

Range scored 26 points and converted 7 of 8 free throws in overtime, and Kimball guard Allison Schmidt’s layup rimmed out in the closing seconds as the Buffaloes escaped victorious 48-47 and with their perfect league record intact.

The two-time defending champion Buffaloes (10-0, 16-6) have found ways to win the close ones against the VOL’s other contending squads. For Kimball (6-4, 15-8), it was another heartbreaker. The Jaguars also dropped a 65-64 decision to Weston Ranch last week after leading by 17 going into the fourth. They also led Sonora by 15 at halftime before losing, 53-50.

On Thursday, Kimball took Manteca down the wire despite having three players foul out and shooting a paltry 4 for 15 on free throws.

“We’re still young, and as long the girls are working hard and executing that’s all I can ask for,” Kimball coach Mike Granillo said. “I’m proud of the way they fought tonight and they did what they were supposed to do, we came up short.

“But hats off to Manteca, you can’t deny the talent of Courtney Range. When you have a player like that who is a Division-I player, I’d ride her, too. She’s a heck of a player.”

After struggling to get layups to fall early, Range got it going in crunch time. She accounted for all 10 of Manteca’s points in overtime while drilling a key 3-pointer. Range also pulled down 22 rebounds and blocked three shots. She had a chance to win it at the end of regulation with the score tied 38-38, but her one-handed floater from the right elbow with 5 seconds left was off the mark.

In overtime, Kimball buried three 3-pointers and took two leads. Noni Kuumba’s trey pushed Kimball ahead 41-39 with 3:11 to go, and that was its first lead since it was ahead 16-14 with 51 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Manteca went up for good when Range delivered two free throws with 12.1 seconds left. After a timeout, Schmidt nearly took matters into her own hands as she penetrated past three defenders and watched as her floater rolled off the rim.

Sarah Nunes led Kimball with 13 points and eight rebounds. Kuumba added seven points, nine boards and five assists.

Jasmine Odell (10 rebounds) and Jessica Hasal chipped in seven points each for the Buffaloes, while Mikayla Hasal contributed six points and five rebounds.

Manteca had chances to pull away late in the third quarter with a 28-20 cushion, but turnovers and a gutty effort from Kimball prevented that.

“Credit Kimball, they played very good defense and kept coming at us,” said Manteca coach Cody Norman. “It’s big for us to be in these close games. Win or lose, we’re going to look at the game film and work on the things that we need to work on.”

The Buffaloes are not out of the woods yet with four games to go. They hold a one-game lead over second-place Weston Ranch, which hosts Manteca next Tuesday. Manteca claimed their first meeting, 56-48.

“That’s going to be a tough one,” Norman said. “Right now it’s the biggest game of the season for us, and Weston Ranch is on a roll.”

 

Sophomore

Kimball 48, Manteca 46

Manteca nearly climbed back from a 12-point deficit but fell short.

Mildred Perez paced the Buffaloes with 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Chelsea Bruch chimed in with nine points, and Fechi Nkwocha had eight points and three steals.

 

Freshman

Manteca 47, Kimball 34

Leah Manuleleua poured in 14 points and 16 rebounds and the Buffaloes (8-2, 15-3) rolled to victory.

Celina Burks contributed 12 points, while Aryana Martinez and Taylor Davis each turned in eight. Martinez also hauled in 19 rebounds.

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