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BOYS HOOPS: Under pressure
Buffs fend off Lancers in defensive struggle
Bulletin sports 2020-21
Manteca's Trey Moreland (2) shoots in front of East Union's Luke Weaver. - photo by Dave Campbell

East Union High put a fourth-quarter scare into the visiting Buffaloes in Thursday's Valley Oak League clash.

Manteca High (3-0 VOL, 4-1 overall) prevailed in the end for the 49-42 victory.

"We played sloppy," said Buffalo coach Jason Hitt, who was none too pleased with the turnovers from the Lancer press.

Bulletin sports 2020-21
East Union's Dylan Lee (5) shoots over Manteca's Bobby Martin (1). - photo by Dave Campbell
He credited the scrappy effort of East Union (1-2, 2-2) for refusing to back down late in the game.

Manteca built up a 45-33 lead at 4:31 mark in the fourth on a pair of buckets including an and-one by Nick Bell, who drew his fifth personal foul soon after.

The Lancers capitalized on a few of the turnovers off their press including a couple of hustle plays by Luke Weaver, Dylan Lee, Bryan Howe and Justice Sandoval.

The latter grabbed a loose ball off a rebound, finding Weaver open for a 3 in the closing minute.

The Buffaloes managed to seal the deal on free throws by junior guard Trey Moreland, who was 4 for 4 from the foul line down the stretch.

"We played hard," EU coach Charles Legan said. "I thought we did a good job matching (Manteca's) intensity."

His team took awhile to find its stride after being stymied by the Buffaloes' pressure defense in opening period.

The Lancers turned the ball four times during one stretch including steals resulting into quick baskets by Moreland and Jake Wirstlin.

On the defensive side, East Union had some tough moments maneuvering around 6-foot-7 junior Mehtaj Mehrok, who had three blocks, seven boards and six points.

The Lancers bounced back to tie the game at 13-13 on a trey by Justin Bennett.

Manteca forged ahead on a turn-around by Bell, who netted 11 points to go along with a pair of blocks and nine rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.

Justice Chase added a quick two off a steal and another on a drive assisted by Bell.

Before the half, Bobby Martin drilled a 3 to give the Buffaloes a 27-23 advantage.

But East Union clawed back each time, getting a drive from Lee — he finished with a game-high 16 points with eight rebounds and four steals — a pull-up by Weaver (9 points, nine rebounds), and even a buzzer-beating trey by Nikko Nunez to end the third.

For Manteca, Martin chipped in with 11 points along with six rebounds and a steal, and Chase had 7 points, eight boards and three thefts.

Wirstlin added six points, five rebounds, two steals and a block.

Both teams will go at it again tonight at Winter Gym.