The Manteca High boys’ basketball team is still celebrating its historic run to the CIF State Championships Division III title.
It continues Friday with a parade through downtown Manteca beginning at Library Park at noon. The festivities, organized by the school’s leadership class headed by Stephanie Hjemstad, end at Winter Gymnasium, where the Buffaloes are holding a net-cutting ceremony.
Mayor Stephen DeBrum and Manteca Unified superintendent Jason Messer are among the dignitaries making an appearance. Several of Manteca High’s former boys hoops coaches will also be present, including Mike Henry. He led the Buffaloes to their first — and only — Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 1987.
“It’s one thing after the other,” Manteca head coach Brett Lewis said. “It’s fun but it’s a little hectic and overwhelming. I feel like I don’t ever want to be a TV star or professional athlete after this. I need to hire a personal secretary.”
It has been a busy two weeks since Manteca topped SoCal champ Ayala of Chino Hills 60-51 at Sleep Train Arena on March 24. Players and coaches have had their rings designed and fitted, and on Wednesday they took team photos with their state trophy.
Also on Wednesday, 6-foot-9 Nevada-bound senior Kenny Wooten and junior guard Dwight Young joined Lewis for a visit to the Children’s Home of Stockton where former McDonald’s All-American DeAngelo Collins — Wooten’s cousin — put on a basketball camp. The Buffaloes were invited to interact with camp participants and help with the workouts. And on April 25, the team will take a tour of the California State Capitol.
The 2015-16 Buffaloes finished 29-6, took second in the Valley Oak League and were again runners-up in the SJS Division III playoffs with Manteca Unified rival Weston Ranch seizing both titles, but they hold bigger prizes with NorCal and state championship hardware to display in the trophy case.
It has been an eventful calendar year for Lewis and his wife, Aubrey, who got married last summer and are expecting their first child.
“Wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “It’s definitely a memorable time in my life.”