ESCALON — The only thing that could slow Manteca High down was a running clock.
The Buffaloes were “held” to just five points in the fourth quarter Friday, but they gladly settled for the 79-38 victory to end their impressive preseason at 11-2.
“Coach told us to go into this like it was a league game,” said Manteca forward Nick Scheible, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in limited time. “We’re preparing for the second season, so we took it seriously. We’re just trying to get better.”
The game got out of hand quickly.
Ernie Pimentel drained the first of his four 3-pointers from the corner to give the Buffaloes a 10-0 lead a minute, 50 seconds after tipoff.
Pimentel ended up with 14 points and four assists, while sophomore point guard Kiwi Gardner led all players with 20 points, six steals and five assists.
After putting up 27 in the first quarter, the Buffaloes clamped down on the other end, limiting Escalon (2-9) to just four points and forcing 10 turnovers.
The rest was a formality with Manteca ahead 44-14 at halftime, but coach Dave Asuncion wanted his team to sustain its focus and intensity.
“We weren’t playing the score,” he said. “We wanted to work in some new plays against a live team and we executed pretty well.”
Manteca begins Valley Oak League action Wednesday at home against Central Valley of Ceres.
In Ripon, the visiting Lions (3-3) climbed back from a 25-14 halftime deficit behind six 3-pointers in the final two quarters.
Tyler Goslinga paced the Knights (6-5) with 18 points, and David Vander Schaaf pumped in 15. Aaron Judge led Linden with 14.
Ripon Christian continues its non-league schedule tonight at home tonight (5:30 tipoff) against Victory Christian of Carmichael.