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BASKETBALL: Buffs survive late Kimball comeback for key win
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The Manteca boys basketball team continued its difficult closing stretch to the regular season Monday, surviving a late run from host Kimball to pick up a 53-51 victory.

The Buffaloes (7-3 Valley Oak League, 16-10 overall) were on the brink dropping a third straight game after leading by 11 points midway through the fourth quarter. Late turnovers allowed Kimball (7-4, 18-8) to climb back and have opportunities to complete the comeback in the end.

Kobe Harris had an open look for a 3-pointer and followed the shot to rebound the miss. His put-back to tie it at the buzzer was also off the mark.

“I was proud of our guys’ effort for the first 3 ½ quarters,” Manteca coach Jason Hitt said. “We almost dominated the whole game, and we just had some boneheaded turnovers. They started pressing and had to work through that.

“Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of close games this year and the guys know they can fight back. We can definitely learn from this game and hopefully it helps us in the playoffs.”

Taj Mehrok led Manteca with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Inderbitzin and Noah Lyons contributed nine and eight points, respectively. Benito Ruiz fired 14 points to pace Kimball.

Manteca’s final four league games are on the road. The Buffs end with Central Catholic on Wednesday and East Union on Friday. 


Central Catholic 62, East Union 54

The Lancers (4-6 VOL, 16-10 overall) could not dig out of an early 17-4 hole and have dropped six of their last seven contests. They are in the mix for an at-large berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and cap the regular season at home against Oakdale on Wednesday and Manteca on Friday.

East Union made a late push to steal the win Monday but could not get shots to drop after closing to within a point of the Raiders (7-3, 18-8). Dylan Lee spearheaded the Lancers with 22 points, Anthony Sy scored 17 and Bryan Howe had 10. Malachi Miller led Central Catholic with 22 points.


Ripon 48, Atwater 42

The Indians (13-13) overcame sloppy play to pick up a big non-league road win that could help boost their postseason seeding.

“It was kind of an ugly game,” Ripon coach Justin Graham said. “Both teams had a lot of turnovers, I know we had 27, but we just made the plays at the end of the game — secured some big rebounds, made a couple free throws, and the guys locked in on the defensive end against a really talented and tough Atwater team.”

Ripon managed to squeak it out despite its leading scorer for the season fouling out. Logan Gillespie had eight points, six rebounds and four assists before picking up his fifth foul with 5 minutes left.

Bronson Burrow helped pick up the slack with 13 points and seven rebounds. Nolan Young contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Ty Herrin provided big minutes off the bench, chipping in with seven points.

Ripon returns to Trans-Valley League play on Wednesday and takes on first-place Ripon Christian.


Junior varsity boys

Manteca 62, Kimball 30

Johan Peringelil highlighted the lopsided victory with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Manteca (10-0 VOL, 24-2 overall) used an 18-2 run in the second quarter to gain separation.

Jayden Scarver contributed 13 points and three assists. Eddie Anthony (four rebounds, six assists) and Ruben Moreno (four rebounds) registered 13 points apiece.


Junior varsity girls

East Union 47, Weston Ranch 7

Alexa Zuniga poured in 19 points, while Mariela Narravo had 14 as the Lancers rolled to the VOL win on Saturday.


Freshman boys

Manteca 75, Kimball 24

Evan Gaeta and Bryson Davis led a balanced effort for Manteca (10-0 VOL, 23-3 overall), scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively.