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Nieman drills five 3-points in Manteca’s tournament opener
Golden Valley-Manteca boys basketball
Manteca’s Peyton Nieman (3) drives around Golden Valley’s Angel Torres. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

The Manteca boys basketball team went nip and tuck with Golden Valley on Wednesday night before the tournament-host Buffaloes erupted for a 22-3 run on the way to coasting to a 66-29 win in the inaugural Manteca Varsity Booster Tournament.

“We started out slow tonight like we did in our first game,” Manteca coach Jason Hitt said. “We just have to keep playing basketball. We have a couple of bigger football guys, and we’ll see where they are when they come out, but these guys are doing a pretty good job.

“The whole bench got in today and got some minutes they may not get when everybody is here, so they are getting valuable minutes right now. We were able to catch fire tonight and hit a bunch of 3s. This is a much better shooting team than we had last year with some guys coming off of our JV squad, we just have to become a better defensive rebounding team and hopefully we can match the play of last year’s team.”

Peyton Nieman hit five of eight 3-pointers for the Buffaloes (1-1) and led all scorers with 15 points.

“I was just in flow with the offense,” Nieman said. “When Ramesh (Kabiri) racks the ball I get wide open and he kicks it out to me.

“And when we feed it to the bigs, I get wide open then too and they kick it back out to me.”

Kabiri (12 points, three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals) scored 12 points, mostly on penetrating the Cougars defense. When Golden Valley (0-3) did collapse on him, he would dish out to his teammates on the perimeter.

“I was racking the ball, and if it was open I would go in for the layup,” Kabiri said. “Otherwise, I would get the passes out to my teammates.”

Manteca’s Santiago Sanders just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds.

“It was a good ball game,” Sanders said. “We passed the ball around well and they found me in the post.”

The Buffaloes dominated the boards, 32-18. Micah Crawford grabbed nine boards for Manteca and Noah Lyons (nine points, two assists, two steals, block) had six boards.

Izaivian Goode led the visitors from Merced with nine points.

On Friday, the Buffaloes face Turlock in a semifinal match at 8:30 p.m., and at 5:30 Golden Valley plays Bear Creek.