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Buffaloes bounce back by beating Bulldogs
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CERES — Manteca High’s defending Valley Oak League champion boys basketball team knew it would have to change directions in a hurry after losing to Weston Ranch at home last Friday, and the Buffaloes were able to do that with a comfortable 57-47 Valley Oak League win over Ceres.

Manteca (3-1 VOL, 10-5 overall) trailed the Bulldogs after the first period of play, but pushed ahead for good with a 17-7 run in the second period.

The Buffaloes were still without the services of standout point guard Kiwi Gardner, who is serving a four-game suspension for making contact with an official during a non-league contest.

Manteca got superb play from post presence E.J. Godfrey, who led all scorers with 21 points. Godfrey reaped the benefits of a standout team defensive effort that held Ceres’ top-two offensive threats.

“Our success was more about how we played defensively,” Manteca head coach Dave Asuncion said. “We were effective on their inside guy (Lance Hunter) and we held their shooter (Justin Cantasy) to just one point in the first half. Gerry Cooper was designated to their shooter and C. J. Rivas was designated to (Hunter).

“We did a great job making them make tough shots.”

Ernie Pimentel landed in double-digits with 15, while Cooper supported his defensive prowess with a dozen points on the offensive end. Manteca showed a balance that the squad will need if they plan on making positive strides in the absence of its team leader.

“We looked at the film and we realized that we were going to have to get the ball inside,” Asuncion said. “Our big guys have to touch the ball a little sooner, so we made a conscious effort to get it in to them.

“I think the guards did a good job of finding the big-man and the big-man did an even better job getting in position and calling for it.”

The Buffaloes will be back on the court today when they play host to the Central Valley Hawks.
Weston Ranch 53, Sonora 41
WESTON RANCH — The suddenly-hot Cougars (3-0, 7-7) of Weston Ranch remain the lone undefeated team in league play after winning the second of a tough four-game stretch Tuesday. Weston Ranch came off a stunning 65-54 win over defending champion Manteca on the road last Friday.

“Our confidence is starting to come,” Weston Ranch coach Ryan Bono said. “We’re working hard in practice and trying to pick up the slack from the preseason.”

Weston Ranch used its speed and press defense to counter Sonora’s size advantage, taking a 30-18 lead into halftime.

Nate Moises led the balanced scoring effort with 13 points, and Ronnie Collins finished with 10. Sonora’s top all-around player, 6-foot-4 wing Alex Kiriluk, poured in a game-high 20 points.

Weston Ranch closes the week at Ceres tonight and at East Union Friday.

Sierra 73, Lathrop 31
LATHROP — Sierra (3-1, 10-5) showed no ill effects from its first VOL loss of the season, taking it out on first-year varsity Lathrop and mounting a 40-14 halftime lead.

Sophomore post Will Ward led the Timberwovles with 21 points, and John Lenoci added 18. Eric Davis had 10 for winless Lathrop.

Sonora 63, W. Ranch 37
SONORA — The visiting Cougars (1-2, 8-6) struggled in all facets, especially on the offensive end in the loss.

Weston Ranch made just 11 of 51 shots from the field and was 11-for-26 from the free-throw stripe. Timnesha Wilson and Courtney Duran had 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Cougars.
Sonora (2-2, 7-8) was paced by Tori Selesia’s 15 points. Brittany Malone (13 points) and Kelli Keefe (10 points) also finished with double-digit scoring

“The X’s and O’s were fine and our turnovers (12) were down, but when you can’t put the ball in the hole you can’t get the ‘W,’” said Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer.
— Bulletin staff