Anand Hundal celebrated his 16th birthday in a big way.
The 6-foot-8 junior scored 14 points to go with his six rebounds, five blocks and three steals while helping lead Manteca High past visiting Kimball on Tuesday, 75-54.
More importantly, the Buffaloes (11-4) are 3-0 in the Valley Oak League.
“It’s good to be unbeaten in league, especially for a young team like us,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said. “But we have some tough games ahead – we’re 0-0, as I see it.”
The Buffaloes took care of business early on, going on a 10-2 run to kick off the game.
Kimball (2-1 VOL, 7-7 overall) was at a size disadvantage in trying to match up with the likes of Hundal and 6-foot-7 sophomore guard Tydus Verhoeven, who finished with a game-high 21 points coupled with three blocks.
Hundal had a hustle steal, finding Tyler Graves-Kelso for the lay-up after wrestling away the loose ball. The young big man in the middle also put a nifty spin move as the Buffaloes had a 12-4 lead.
Verhoeven did most of the damage in the second quarter, delivering 5 of 6 free throws while also scoring on a scoop shot.
Ramon Gallardo hit on a pair of elbow jumpers and Marcus Montano scored off a pass from Angel Perez as Manteca took a 37-24 lead in to the break.
In the third, Frankie Lopez delivered on a pair of treys while Hundal and Verhoeven continued to do most of the damage from the inside.
The Buffaloes added to their 60-42 third-quarter advantage by opening the final period with a 9-1 run. Montano netted from beyond the arc and Verhoeven closed out his night with a put-back basket.
Hundal, meanwhile, received a happy birthday serenade from the Buffaloes rooting section during the second-half warm ups.
“If feels nice to be recognized,” he said.
As one of the state’s top shot blockers, Hundal is also seeing more opponents trying to challenge him inside. “I think they come in underestimate me,” he said.
On the offensive side, Hundal continues to draw the defense towards him every time he touches the ball, getting two, three and even four players trying to prevent him from scoring.
“That’s why ball movement is huge,” said Lewis. “(Hundal and Verhoeven) were able to find guys out in the gaps.”
In addition, Montano finished with 10 while Lopez had nine for Manteca. Sai Padhy led Kimball with 14 and Brandon Bundy scored all 9 of his points in the second.
Manteca 57, Kimball 37
Balanced scoring and defense lifted Manteca to another VOL win.
Gino Campiotti led the charge with 17 points, while Kyle Bolding and Kyle Rachels each had eight for the Buffaloes (3-0, 11-2).