Manteca was scoreless for more than six minutes in the second period Saturday and was unable to bounce all the way back in a 37-33 non-league loss to visiting St. Mary’s of Stockton at Winter Gym.
“When Nick Bell got in foul trouble in the second quarter that kind of switched the momentum over,” Buffaloes coach Jason Hitt said. “And we had 19 turnovers which were tough to deal with. We were trying to play fast and some of them were unforced. St Mary’s did a great job of forcing us from what we do but I thought we made good adjustments setting wing screens toward the end there.”
While the offense had problem finding the groove for Manteca (2-1), the Buffaloes defense held the Rams (2-1) to six first-quarter points and two in the third period.
“We could have easily folded, but I thought our half-court man-to-man defense was as good as we have played in a long time,” Hitt said. “To hold St. Mary’s to 37 points was quite a defensive accomplishment. I am pleased with our effort, but we have a lot of young minds with two sophomores and three juniors who are going in to handle the basketball against a lot of kids who have played together since sixth grade in CYO.”
The Buffaloes tied the score at 25 after three quarters and took a 28-27 lead early in the final period on a three-point play by Bobby Martin (10 points), but then the Rams went on a 6-0 run and held on the rest of the way for the win.
“They are very aggressive and they play so hard,” St. Mary’s coach Ken Green said. “We matched their intensity and at moments rose above it and the difference is we made a couple of more shots.
“It seemed like it was anybody’s game and I give Manteca a lot of credit for playing their butts off and really challenging us and forcing us to make a couple of plays to win the game. Holding them to 33 points in their own gym is pretty impressive for us against a talented team like Manteca.”
The Rams’ Devan Thompkins led all scorers with 13 points. Mehtaj Mehrok paced the Manteca defense with five blocks and five rebounds.
St. Mary’s 52, Manteca 32
Amari Suggs paced the Buffaloes with eight points.
St. Mary’s 54, Manteca 39
Bryson McMichael scored 12 points to lead the Buffaloes.