With the absence of senior guard Jessica Hasal on Friday night, Manteca’s junior tandem of Chelsea Gomez and Fechi Nkwocha stepped up significantly at Winter Gym.
Gomez and Nkwocha combined for 22 points, and sophomore Elizabeth Tolbert played well as the Buffaloes’ floor general during a 44-30 preseason victory over visiting Turlock.
Manteca (2-5) jumped out to a 15-7 advantage after the first eight minutes, and after an even second quarter, the Buffaloes took a 24-16 cushion into the locker room.
“We were just going with what we do best, and that was our full-court pressure back to being a little bit smarter with our zone than we are with our man-to-man (defense),” Manteca head coach Cody Norman said. “Another reason was to pick up the aggressiveness and intensity, and our two girls up top – Fechi and Chelsea – they really bring it. So that really let’s them do what they do best in that kind of defensive set. (Nkwocha) really made a difference defensively for us with a lot of steals.”
Nkwocha finished with eight points but went 2 of 8 from the free-throw line. The Buffaloes went 8 of 16 from the charity stripe as a team.
In the third quarter, Manteca outscored Turlock (2-8) 12 -9 and led by 11 going into the fourth frame.
The Buffaloes’ defense only allowed the Bulldogs five fourth-quarter points despite only scoring seven of their own in the final eight minutes.
Manteca stretched its lead to 16 late in the fourth quarter after Tolbert registered an impressive assist from near-mid-court. Tolbert found junior guard Allison Rachels on the right block for the field goal.
Turlock’s freshman guard Audrey Belew made up the final score by tallying the game’s final bucket.
The Bulldogs, who were led by senior guard Karly Schuman’s team-high 11 points, committed seven turnovers in the first quarter alone. Sianna Cruz recorded seven points and freshmen Shea Glasgow Williams and Mary Oliveira each chipped in four.
“We struggled shooting, and you know, we’re really young,” Turlock head coach Mark Musselman said. “We start two freshmen and have three freshmen up. We’re learning, but the girls played hard…they always play hard. We just have to learn how to win.
“I thought we did a decent defensive job. (Manteca) zoned us with a 2-3 and we couldn’t hit outside shots. We had multiple chances in the fourth quarter to put the ball in.”
Turlock, which will host Kimball of Tracy on Monday, shot 2 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Manteca will be up against Gregori on Thursday at the Tom Hawkins Tournament in Tracy.
Liberty Ranch 40, Ripon 33
The Indians only played with six players during the semifinals of the Liberty Ranch Tournament as Morgan Carrico led the team with nine points.
Ellie Waters finished with eight for Ripon (4-2) and Julia Victor six. Jill Jamero (4), Mel Ulrich (4) and Abby Waters (2) all made the scoring column as well. Ripon had a lead at the half but got outscored 13-9 in the fourth quarter. The Indians will play for third place against Vacaville today at 1:30 p.m. in Galt.
Argonaut 53, Lathrop 24
The Spartans were taught a lesson in Jackson against the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV runners-ups who went 30-2 last year.
Lathrop (2-5) only trailed by two points after the first quarter, but Argonaut took control with a 15-2 run to close the first half. Loreal Taylor led the Spartans with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Lauren Collins was next chipping in four points and three assists. Lathrop will host Stagg on Monday at 7:15 p.m.
Tipton 45, Ripon Chr. 19
Jessica Van Vliet finished with six points and six rebounds while tallying all of her points from the free-throw line for Ripon Christian (7-4) during the semifinals of the Golden Valley Tournament.
Argonaut 53, Lathrop 30
Deja Andrades and Fala Mora each scored six points as the Spartans fell to 1-6.
Lathrop 39, Argonaut 20
The Spartans are still unbeaten after Danya Phillips led her squad with 11 points and 12 rebounds.