It was a lot closer than it needed to be.
With 3:24 left in the third quarter Friday, Manteca enjoyed what appeared to be a commanding 25-point lead over visiting Beyer of Modesto in non-league boys’ basketball action.
Appearances can be deceiving, and the Patriots started the final period with a 20-8 run on the way to coming within six points with 48 seconds remaining. They would get no closer as Manteca rode the hot free-throw-shooting hand of Dwight Young down the stretch and escaped Winter Gym with an ugly 79-71 win.
“I think we showed our youth,” Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis said. “I think we showed we can make poor decisions at times. It is all a learning experience – we have a lot of guys without a lot of experience in a situation like we had tonight.
“We may have forced an issue and made a dumb pass, but then instead of coming down and getting a good possession we made another dumb pass and quit playing defense. But we also showed that we can be a pretty tough basketball team when we want to, even though we can make some dumb mistakes and let somebody back into the game, too.”
Young got the last six points of the game for Manteca, going a perfect 6 for 6 from the free –throw line in the fourth quarter.
“He is huge,” Lewis said of Young. “He did it all last year. He has ice in his veins.
“He is our go-to guy. We want to get the ball in his hands in that situation.”
Young led all scorers with 20 points and had four steals and four rebounds.
“We kind of lost focus a little bit in the fourth quarter,” Young said. “We had to get it back so I just wanted to help my team get the win.”
Manteca had a 38-22 lead at halftime due in no small part to the unselfish play of Matt Ender who had four assists in the second quarter and finished with seven to go with his 15 points.
“I like to create open looks for my teammates,” Ender said. “I take joy when they make buckets and it makes them look good. That’s my job.”
Jorge Cedano also had a big second quarter for the Buffaloes and was on the receiving end of a few of those Ender assists with 10 of his 15 points in the second period.
“We were up in the first half but in the second half it got a little sloppy,” Cedano said. “I am glad we came out with the win and I hope in the tournament that is coming up we can show what Manteca is all about.”
Manteca’s Gino Campiotti flirted with a double-double with 17 points and eight rebounds and teammate Antwann Taylor came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds. After missing the end of the first half and nearly all of the second with foul trouble, Tydus Verhoeven helped save the Buffaloes win with a block and three rebounds in the final two minutes.
Brian Perry led Beyer (6-3) with 19 points.
Manteca opens the prestigious Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Clovis East at Modesto Christian High School.
Sierra 49, Modesto 41
STOCKTON – The Timberwolves finished third in the Third Annual Adidas Trojan Christmas Classic at Lincoln High.
Jamille Grady and Victor Elijah led Sierra with 15 points each. Grady and Bikram Thiara (nine points) received all-tournament honors and Eduardo Jasso added seven points.
Ripon Christian 51,
OAKDALE – The Knights held the tournament-host Mustangs to single digits in three quarters in the Oakdale Tournament at Oakdale High.
“It was a physical game,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said. “But we were able to withstand it and come out on top.”
Zach Cortright led the Knights (9-3) with 25 points and Andrew Vander Weide chipped
Beyer 59, Manteca 50
Kyle Lynch, Cruz Jeffrey and Dylan Gross had nine points apiece for the Buffaloes.
Manteca 80, Beyer 41
Jordan Burciaga led the Buffaloes with 18 points and Spencer Brisco added 15.