In a word — balanced.
Although the Manteca girls basketball team handled visiting Turlock 50-29 Thursday, no Buffaloes player scored more than nine points in Manteca’s non-league finale at Winter Gymnasium.
“That was my goal,” Buffaloes coach Mary Ann Tolbert said. “To be balanced.
“I was talking with them and told them if we can get around 10 points out of Loretta (Kakala), Leah (Manuleleua), Lizzy (Tolbert) and Rubel (Dehal), six to eight out of (Lejla) Pepic and two to four out of Beth (Aschenbrenner) it was going to be hard to defend us if we spread it around. I was glad to see that happened today.”
Coach Tolbert was not far off on her pre-game predictions. Pepic led all scorers with nine points, Lizzy Tolbert and Manuleleua each had eight points and Dehal and Kakala both had seven points. Aschenbrenner did not score, but her quick feet on defense stopped at least five Bulldogs fast-break attempts.
“At times our defense is there,” Coach Tolbert said. “It is starting to click. We are working really hard in practice on our intensity and we are trying to deflect everything. It is paying off.
“We are not finishing our layups but we will get there. But we are getting the steals – we are on the ground, we are all over the place.”
Monday marked Kakala’s first action of the season. A transfer from East Union, CIF regulations kept her from playing until Monday and in her limited time on the court she was quite dominating, grabbing five rebounds with a steal, assist and a block.
“I felt OK, but I’m still a little rusty,” Kakala said. “I am trying to get back into the game.
“I was really nervous before the game, but my teammates helped me calm down. They were comforting me and I felt a little bit better about everything.”
Manteca (6-5) led by 29-11 at halftime and Dehal had three quick steals in the third quarter to help keep Turlock (6-7) out of the game.
“We have been working on our defense a lot during practice,” Dehal said. “And we focus mainly on that and it was good that we got to execute what we do in practice.”
Manuleleua got six of her eight points in the first period and finished with five rebounds and four steals.
“I am really excited for league,” Manuleleua said. “We have been doing well, but Loretta is really going to add to us. We have more chemistry with her.”
The Buffaloes forced 26 turnovers and led 47-19 after three periods before emptying the bench in the fourth quarter.
“Manteca played well,” Bulldogs coach Mark Musselman said. “That big girl (Kakala) is a ball player.
“They are well-coached and we didn’t execute our offense very well. We just have to get better.”
Enochs 61, East Union 32
In Modesto, Lancers (8-3) capped nonleague play with their worst effort of the season so far.
Enochs (6-6) led by four at one point in the third quarter before breaking it open. The Eagles outscored East Union 13-1 in the fourth quarter as they were plagued by turnovers and second-shot opportunities for Enochs.
Anna Wood led EU with nine points and seven rebounds, and Ruby Daube added eight. Akaysha Simpkins led Enochs with 15 points.
Mountain House 44, Ripon Christian 29
Ripon Christian (7-4 overall) dropped its Trans-Valley League opener at home.
Molly Hoeksema had eight points for the Knights, while Beth Weststeyn chipped in seven points and six rebounds.
Turlock 43, Manteca 26
The Bulldogs hit 11 from behind the arc.
J.J. Santos led the Buffaloes with 12 points and Malia Parangan adding 11.
Manteca 36, Turlock 22
Rhiannon Genilla, Aliza Teixeira and Sarah Inderbitzen scored eight points apiece for the Buffaloes.
Genilla had six rebounds and four steals, Chandler Neiman five rebounds and Alex Beltran four steals.
East Union 30, Enochs 15
The Pages (7-3) allowed just five points in the second half and rolled to victory behind Kayla Coffman’s 14 points and 12 rebounds.