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HELP HAS ARRIVED

Key returners join Manteca in competitive loss to St. Mary’s

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HELP HAS ARRIVED

Manteca forward Jordan Burciaga looks to score in the paint over St. Mary’s defenders Tom Rigdon (15) and Sam Bettencourt (14).


POSTED December 13, 2017 1:48 a.m.



Just three days after getting chased around by behemoth linemen on the football field, Gino Campiotti went toe-to-toe with one of the top basketball players in San Joaquin County at Winter Gym.
“I don’t want to call it an easy transition, but I was in shape from running from those big guys on Saturday,” Campiotti said after scoring a game-high 22 points in Manteca’s 71-63 loss to St. Mary’s on Tuesday.
Campiotti is one of three latecomers, all projected starters, to the Buffaloes’ reigning Valley Oak League champion basketball squad. The school’s star quarterback, recently named All-VOL MVP, was joined by Jorge Cedano and Matthew Ender last Saturday for the CIF Northern California Division II-A Regional Bowl Game against Mountain View-based powerhouse St. Francis, which prevailed, 28-23.
“I got to play the whole second half and never felt too winded to play,” Campiotti said. “It did take a while to get into a groove.”
Manteca is now 0-4 to start the 2017-18 season, but head coach Brett Lewis can now begin piecing things together with everyone in place. There’s much work to be done, as evidenced by Tuesday’s sometimes-sloppy effort that included 18 turnovers. The trio — which did not start but checked in halfway through the opening quarter — has logged just two hours of practice time since the football season ended.
Cedano scored nine of his 10 points in the first half but fouled out with 1:18 remaining, while Ender had nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
“It’s been a challenge, but I do know those three guys bring a lot of toughness and leadership and that’s what we’ve been missing,” Lewis said. “I think a lot of the other guys have matched it today and (Monday in practice). St. Mary’s is a very good basketball team, but I feel like we competed for most of the game.”
St. Mary’s (7-1) is ranked No. 14 in the NorCalPreps top 20 and showed why after trailing 31-27 at halftime, starting the first two minutes of the third quarter on a 14-2 run.
Lewis called two quick timeouts, and the Buffaloes responded with seven unanswered points capped by an and-one conversion from Derek Range (eight points, six rebounds) that closed them in, 42-39. Campiotti later went coast-to-coast off a steal for a breakaway dunk to make it 45-43, but Manteca did not get any closer. St. Mary’s ended its 28-point onslaught in the period ahead, 56-47.
Bryce Johnson, a 6-foot-7 junior forward who has an offer from Pacific, paced the Rams with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Carson Simi finished with 19 points, while Darius Lindley and Aaron Jenkins III had 10 apiece.
“They are a really good team, hats off to them, but it’s helping us come together faster,” Cedano said. “I know we have each other’s back. We’ll benefit from this.”
Manteca opens the Cosumnes Oaks Running with the Pack Tournament with Foothill of Sacramento on Thursday.

Sophomore
St. Mary’s 76, Manteca 69
Spencer Briscoe buried five 3-pointers and poured in a game-high 19 points for Manteca. Nick Bell scored 10 of his 14 in the fourth quarter, and 10 different Buffaloes contributed with points in the high-scoring affair.

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