LATHROP —The Manteca High Buffaloes put behind their preseason woes to roll past the host Spartans on Wednesday, 42-26.
“Our defense played great, holding the opposition to six first-half points,” said MHS coach Cody Norman of the Valley Oak League opener.
The Buffaloes (1-0, 3-7) got half of their first-half points from the free-throw line, leading 12-6 at the half.
“We were able to put together some consistent runs throughout the game,” Norman said. “We had four or five good ones.”
The most notable one came in the third quarter. Manteca went on an 18-3 run, including 13 unanswered at one point.
Jessica Hasal canned a trey and Elizabeth Tolbert had a quick two, both on inbound plays.
Lathrop (0-1, 4-8) opened the final quarter trailing 30-11.
“We were not prepared to play today,” said Spartans coach Ed Fang. “Our girls looked like they had a little fear in their eyes.”
At that point, he turned to his bench players to provide a spark. “They may not be the most talented but they know how to play within themselves,” Fang said.
Offensively, Desiree Mendola scored off an outlet pass, hit a pair of free throws, and completed a three-point play, pulling Lathrop closer early in the fourth, 32-18.
Ashley Diboki’s basket at the 3:14 mark kept the Spartans within range.
But Manteca had one last burst.
Abigail Behler completed a three-point play, and quickly followed that up with a basket. For added measure, Hasal’s steal and quick two to put the game further out of reach.
Behler and Hasal both finished with 10 points.
For Lathrop, Mendola had seven points while Loreal Taylor and Terrina Phillips both netted six.
“We (also) had a tough preseason but there were also some games that we could’ve easily had,” Fang said.
He’s hoping to see his team rebound from that opening VOL loss on Friday. That’s when Lathrop travels to Sonora.
Manteca will battle Weston Ranch that day.
Weston Ranch 75,
Rauline Martinez had quite the debut for Weston Ranch (1-0, 8-4) on Wednesday.
The junior transfer from Brookside Christian totaled 24 points, while A.J. Brown added 20 in a high-paced contest. Patricia King chipped in with 10. Bailey Henington paced Sonora (6-5) with 24.
“It’s nice to come up here and squeak one out, whether it’s good, bad, pretty or ugly,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer said. “I think there’s a lot of parity in league this year, so any time you can steal one on the road you take it.”
Lathrop 34, Manteca 26
Shelia Mertiline provided a big spark off the bench for the Spartans, as she poured in 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Lathrop also received 14 points and eight rebounds from Danya Phillips. Gurveen Bal added six points, four boards and three steals. The Spartans used a 10-point burst in the third quarter to race away.