Early on, East Union High kept pace with crosstown rival Buffaloes before a jam-packed crowd at Winter Gymnasium on Friday.
But Manteca High’s two big men – 6-foot-7 sophomore guard Tydus Verhoeven and Anand Hundal, the 6-8 junior shot-blocking extraordinaire – eventually wore down the feisty Lancers in a 59-39 win.
How effective were the Buffalo bigs?
Verhoeven had 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, while Hundal hit for 15 to go along with his 12 boards.
“We tried to neutralize their size by collapsing on them,” EU coach Ryan Tarr said.
That led to foul trouble for the Lancers, and it opened up the offense for Manteca (8-1, 16-5).
Frankie Lopez and Marcus Montano connected on corner 3s in the fourth as the Buffaloes pulled away.
If there was one concern for Manteca coming in was the second-quarter offensive woes in recent games, according to coach Brett Lewis.
That matter was quickly resolved when junior guard Ja’juan Freeman, coming off a big game against Central Catholic, hit for all eight of his points in the quarter.
“He gave us huge minutes off the bench,” Lewis said.
East Union (0-9 VOL, 6-16 overall) held the early edge thanks to a pair of baskets by Cody Keener in the first.
The Lancers defense was sparked by the likes of Jordan Barajas, who had a pair of steals, and Austin Miller. Arvind Singh gave EU an 11-9 lead with a trey.
Freeman entered the game, hitting a pair of free throws early in the second. He then hit a pull-up jumper and followed that up with a drive and a bucket.
At that point, EU got cold from the field.
“It was not a good shooting night,” said Tarr.
His sophomore guard Gyse Hulsebosch ended an 11-2 run by the Buffaloes with a 3-pointer.
Manteca closed out the quarter with Tyler Graves-Kelso, Verhoeven and Hundal scoring from close range and Freeman hitting the bank shot.
The third quarter belonged to Verhoeven and Hundal. The Lancers, who trailed 31-18 at halftime, closed the gap to nine thanks to 3s by Miller and Barajas, but Manteca pulled away from there.
“They wore us out,” said Tarr.
Keener (eight rebounds) and Hulsebosch both finished with 10 points to pace the EU offense. Miller scored all seven of his points in the second half.
Montano (seven points) and Lopez (six) also contributed to the offense for the Buffaloes, who had a 38-21 edge on the boards.
East Union 46, Manteca 39
Scott Morenzone had 15 points, Angel Sena 12 and James Harper eight for the Lancers, who outscored Manteca 18-13 in the fourth quarter.
Lathrop 53, Kimball 34
In Tracy, the Spartans improved to 16-6 overall and 6-3 in VOL play behind a stifling defensive effort. Lathrop held Kimball to just two second-quarter points. Roman Martinez had 13 points and Idowu Olayeye finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Manteca 52, East Union 33
Gino Campiotti and Antwan Taylor paced the Buffaloes with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Kyle Reis chipped in with 9.
Manteca (9-0 VOL, 17-2 overall) pulled ahead thanks to a 14-6 run in the third quarter.