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Buffs grind out win over Sierra
Post play key for MHS after early 9-point deficit
GBSK--Manteca-Sierra pic 3 WEB
Manteca center Sarah Inderbitzin looks to score in the paint against Sierras Brittney Spivey. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Manteca used strength in numbers to stifle Lindsey Walljasper and upset-minded Sierra on Thursday.
The visiting Buffaloes’ post triumvirate of Sarah Inderbitzin, Rhiannon Genilla and Chandler Nieman more than held its own against one of the Valley Oak League’s top centers in a 54-43 victory.
The 6-foot Walljasper, who is heading to Nebraska for softball, dominated the paint for 19 points and 24 rebounds in the Timberwolves’ first meeting at Manteca, which prevailed, 43-37. In the rematch, she was held scoreless for the first half and ended with seven points, five boards and two blocks.
“We knew we had an advantage because we have a few more big girls than them,” Inderbitzin said. “We just tried to use that, and we knew we had to work hard in the post.”
Inderbitzin did her part, scoring 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half. Genilla was the first-half spark for third-place Manteca (8-3, 16-8 overall), finishing with 10 points and seven boards. Nieman produced six points and four rebounds off the bench.
The Buffaloes were balanced in their scoring with different players taking over at different times. Freshman guard Kyaira Jacobs chipped in 13 points and four assists, while sophomore Jayda Jackson added nine points, six rebounds and four assists after they were limited to two points apiece in the first half.
“We have much more fun playing together knowing that everyone can contribute and have a part on the team,” Inderbitzin said.
Manteca needed all the help it could get to overcome a strong start by Sierra (2-9, 9-15), which led by as much as nine, 17-8, early in the second quarter after a put-back layup from Raiann Prieto. The Timberwolves were able to get the separation with second-chance opportunities, coming down with nine offensive rebounds in the first half.
“I had to chew them out about rebounding,” Manteca coach Ryan Bono said. “They were hitting shots early in the game, and the ones they missed they got offensive boards. The offensive boards killed us.
“Sierra came out hungry tonight and I don’t think we matched their intensity, to be honest.”
Manteca then went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter and trailed, 20-18. Sierra was held without a point in the final 4:49 and outscored 10-5 in the period. Genilla keyed the comeback, scoring six of her points in the second and setting up an easy bucket for a slashing Jacobs.
“Rhiannon has been a great leader on the team,” Bono said. “She plays extremely hard and never quits. She has grown a lot since last year because she was kind of in the shadow of a couple girls. I think this year she has really stepped out and showed that she belongs on the basketball court.”
The Buffaloes took the lead for good late in the third with Inderbitzin scoring five straight points, first on a three-point play and then on a fastbreak for a 31-29 advantage with 35 seconds to go.
“We’re still making some young mistakes, but we have advanced so much from the first game,” Sierra coach Larissa Founts-Bergerson said. “We had a nine-point lead against the third-place team in our league and continued to battle. Sometimes we just play these teams with a little bit more experience than us, but I don’t think it’s a lack of heart or hustle.”
Prieto led the Timberwolves with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists. She ended the first quarter with an off-balance 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer, giving Sierra a 15-8 lead.
“She has stepped up,” Founts-Bergerson said. “A lot of times in the past she has taken a back seat and said that ‘I’m not a shooter, I’m just a point guard.’ I said to her this is your chance to show people what you can do, and I think she has stepped up to the plate. She’s not only going to drive and dish, she’s also going to take some uncomfortable shots from the outside.”

Manteca 48, Sierra 21
Paige Peterson anchored the Buffaloes with 12 points and eight rebounds. Savannah Alvarez contributed 11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Victoria Villavazo pitched in nine points.
Sierra got seven points each from Madi Boyd and Elise Peterson.