TRACY — Manteca made 14 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter and missed just one on the night, scoring 16 points in the final three minutes of the game to regain the lead and defeat host Kimball 59-51 in Valley Oak League boys basketball action.
“You have to make free throws in close games like this,” Buffaloes coach Dave Asuncion said. “They did a good job of pressuring us and forcing turnovers and bad shots. It didn’t feel like we were in control of the game.”
Michael Hatfield was part of a one-two Manteca attack with Austin Haro, scoring eight of his team-high 18 points in the final period.
“We kind of picked it up in the fourth quarter,” Hatfield says. “We started off not so great.”
After not having led since the second basket of the game the Jaguars (2-1 VOL, 12- 3 overall) took 40-39 lead with 6:27 left a following back-to-back steals that were converted into layups by Jonah Laguana. The Buffaloes (2-1, 10-6) bounced back with four points on free throws by Haro only to see Kimball tie the game on a 3-pointer by J.D. Schmidt.
Hatfield then hit a pair of free throws to start a 6-0 run to give Manteca the lead for good.
Haro posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought we came out a little bit slow,” Haro said. “But then we got pretty consistent with how we handled the ball.”
Manteca dominated the boards 37-21.
“We’re not very big,” Jaguars coach Joe Lawrence said. “We don’t get a whole lot of rebounds so a lot depends on how we shoot and we didn’t shoot the ball all that well tonight and they got a lot of rebounds.”
Miguel Lopez was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter for the Buffaloes and ended up with nine points. Kimball’s Ben Juarez led all scorers with 19 points.
Sierra 50, Sonora 34
With Kimball and Lathrop losing, the Timberwolves (3-0, 10-5) are alone atop the VOL standings with Tuesday’s commanding road win at Sonora.
Joshua Patton led a balanced effort with 11 points. Devin Nunez finished with 10. Sierra led 17-7 after the first quarter before the offense sputtered. The team was 13 of 27 on free throws but made up for it with defense.
“We were sloppy at times and it was an ugly game, but it was nice to go on the road and get the win,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said.
Weston Ranch 54,
In Stockton, the Cougars (1-2, 5-10) snapped a seven-game losing streak behind Jazz Swanson’s 18 points. Swanson nailed five 3-pointers, and Jerico Gonzales (nine points) hit three.
Weston Ranch, which led by as much as 14, called up freshman Tre Simmons to back up sophomore Jaelen Ragsdale at point guard. The addition of 6-foot-3 Derek Gordon gives the Cougars even more depth.
“This win feels good,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “The kids have been working hard, we just haven’t won. They played really unselfish tonight, and it was probably the most impressed I have been with Ragsdale all year. Teams are starting to take him away, but he’s making the right basketball plays without having to score.”
Kimball 54, Manteca 44
The Jaguars cooled off after their 23-point first quarter but not enough for the Buffaloes to get back in the game.
Tyler Graves scored 12 points for Manteca and Adrian Contreras 11.
Kimball 57, Manteca 19
The Buffaloes were held scoreless in the first quarter and managed just three first-half points.
Jose Garcia scored six points for Manteca.
Sierra 56, Sonora 25
The host Wildcats managed 10 points in just one quarter and were held to three points in the fourth period and four in the first.
Jamille Grady led the Timberwolves (2-1 VOL, 8-2) with 15 points. Zakary Munkholm, Bikram Thiara and Victor Elijah scored eight points apiece for Sierra.