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Buffs surge in 2nd half to beat Sonora
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Manteca High’s girls basketball team overcame a slow start and a stunning momentum shift at the end of the first half to knock off upset-minded Sonora 60-40 on the road Thursday.

Manteca (9-1, 18-3 overall), which remains a game ahead of Weston Ranch and East Union in the Valley Oak League standings, was getting ready to take the final shot of the first half before turning it over.

That was Sonora standout Kelli Keefe’s cue to nail a buzzer-beating 3-pointer near halfcourt, giving the Wildcats (6-4, 11-10) a 22-21 lead and a huge shot of momentum.

“I was concerned about that big time,” said Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt. “We weren’t playing well in the first half. Things were just not clicking, and they had all the momentum going into halftime.”

But in the second half?

“The girls played like a team on a mission,” Hiatt said.

Manteca broke it open with a 21-8 third quarter.

Sharon Washington spearheaded the Buffaloes with 23 points, Mikayla Hasal chimed in with 11 and freshman forward Tia Tuuga scored all 10 of her points in the second half after watching most of the first half from the sideline with foul trouble.

Keefe ended up with 15 points but was limited to four in the second half, as Karleasha Thompson, Mia Ramirez and Hasal took turns wearing down Sonora’s top player.

“The girls know what what’s at stake and what we’re playing for,” Hiatt said. “Tonight was our most important game of the season, and next Tuesday (against 2-18 Lathrop at home) becomes our most important game of the season.”

East Union 55, Oakdale 8

Visiting Oakdale (2-8, 6-13) was buried by a 28-0 Lancer run at the start.

Jordain Benavides led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points and five steals. Briona Fontenot contributed 11 points, and Lexy Posz had 10 to go with six rebounds, five assists and five steals. Shalane Jackson finished with six points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

Sierra 43, Kimball 24

The host Timberwolves (5-5, 13-8) busted open a 12-1 first-quarter lead and stretched it to 21-5 by halftime.

Jordan Johnson turned in 14 points for Sierra, while Alysia Atkins and Stephanie Vanni added eight each.

Weston Ranch 66, Lathrop 52

At Lathrop High, Timnesha Wilson erupted for 30 points and sank six 3-pointers for Weston Ranch (8-2, 14-7), which also got eight points apiece from center Jazmin Strane and Marceen Bryant.

The Cougars went on a 29-9 run in the third quarter and had their starters out for the fourth, when Lathrop (1-9, 3-18) mounted a 25-7 tear.

Jasmine Elder paced the Spartans with 16 points and four assists. Erica Sanchez (seven rebounds) and Janet Visaya added nine points each.