It played out as a “Can you top this?” moment, but Manteca sharpshooter Dwight Young insists that wasn’t the case.
East Union’s Gyse Hulsebosch, already feeling it by this point, canned a 3-pointer from way deep during a second-quarter run that lifted the Lancers out of an early 15-point hole against their visiting rival at Dalben Center on Friday.
Fourteen seconds later, Young pulled up from about the same distance on the other end of the court, hitting all net to momentarily silence the home crowd.
He was just getting started.
Young scored 18 of his team-high 27 points in the second half, Tydus Verhoeven flirted with his fourth triple-double of the season and the Buffaloes pulled away for a 70-56 win that keeps them undefeated in the Valley Oak League.
Hulsebosch ended up with 36 points and made five 3s just two nights after erupting for 37 in a stunning loss at Oakdale. Young drained four from long range.
“It wasn’t about matching shots or anything, I was just playing how I play,” Young said. “If I have an open shot I’m going to knock it down.
“I just love this environment,” he added. “It’s a rival game. I knew it was going to be a scrappy game. Coach prepared us well and I’m just happy with my team. We played really well together.”
Manteca’s stars took turns leaving their mark. The 6-foot-7 Verhoeven finished with 19 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks. He poured in nine straight points for the Buffaloes (9-0, 17-5 overall) as they rallied to a 19-4 lead.
In the third, Gino Campiotti took over after East Union (5-4, 13-9) managed to close the gap to 31-29 by halftime. Campiotti scored Manteca’s first 10 points of the half and ended up with 13 to go with seven boards. The one-man flurry ended with a Campiotti layup that pushed Manteca’s lead to 41-34 with 2:39 left in the quarter.
It was Young’s show from there. He accounted for 18 of the Buffaloes’ next 20 points including 13 in succession. Young later connected with Verhoeven for an alley-oop slam in transition, and Matt Ender buried a 3 from the left corner to expand Manteca’s lead to its largest of the game, 70-53.
“It’s hard to guard us when we have so many guys scoring on the team,” Verhoeven said. “That’s huge for us to have guys killing you from all angles.”
Early on it was sophomore guard Jorge Cedano who sparked the Buffaloes, scoring all six of his points in the opening quarter including four on coast-to-coast layups.
Hulsebosch, with help from Jordan Barajas (six points), brought the Lancers and their rowdy home crowd to life. Hulsebosch ignited the comeback with an and-1 conversion followed by three made free throws at the end of the first quarter. He and Barajas then combined to score all 19 of East Union’s points in the second quarter.
Hulsebosch’s 3 from the top of the key tied it at 29-29 with a minute to go in the half. Manteca, which never trailed, recaptured the lead on two free throws from Young with 36.1 seconds left.
Despite the loss, Tarr was glad to see the fight from his team after it laid an egg Tuesday. Oakdale upset the Lancers in double overtime 69-65 to register its first VOL win in nearly two full years.
“I’m proud of the way we fought and played tonight,” Tarr said. “We spotted them 15 points in the first quarter and that ended up being the difference of the game. I can’t fault our guys.
“Yeah, Wednesday was disappointing, that was not a good performance for us. We play like we did tonight we should be able to get some wins down the stretch and hopefully squeak into the playoffs.”
The Lancers are in the middle of a crowded race for one of the three Sac-Joaquin Section automatic playoff berths. Manteca, meanwhile, continues to roll along and holds a comfortable three-game lead with six left in the regular season. The Buffaloes ended a tough stretch of four consecutive road games which includes Tuesday’s 69-60 win over second-place Central Catholic.
“Both games on the road, both hostile playoff environments,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said of this week’s contests. “We had a lot of challenges, a lot of adversity to battle through, so to get through it and go 2-0 is huge.”
East Union 41
The Buffaloes (2-7, 5-15) used balanced scoring to escape East Union with the win.
Tarnjot Singh led the way with 12 points, Dylan Gross had 10 and Sal Safi and Kendell Ragsdale added eight apiece. Jojo Espinoza and Pascal Vasquez each tallied 16 points for the Lancers.
Manteca 72, East Union 42
Spencer Briscoe and Jacob De Jesus combined for seven 3s and finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively, as the Buffaloes improved to 9-0 in the VOL and 16-3 overall.