East Union outscored Manteca in the final 26 minutes of the game Friday, but unfortunately for the Lancers they were blanked 15-0 in the first six minutes and lost 57-49 in Valley Oak League boys basketball action at Dalben Center.
“It happens to us every game,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “A team goes on an 8-, 10- or 12-point run and that ends up being the difference in the game. We talked about it before the game — we said no runs, we had to play 32 minutes.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and we didn’t rebound at all tonight. They just wanted it more, they went and got the ball and shot layups. We didn’t get back on defense. We battled, but when you spot a team 15 points it’s tough to come out of that hole.”
Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis shook up his starting lineup a bit.
“We wanted to start a group that has been hustling and playing hard,” he said. We wanted to reward a couple of guys. We tried to light a fire under a couple of guys who had not been bringing it for us.
“Mike Ballard, Ray Valdivia and Derek Range have been giving us a lot of energy and we wanted to reward them with starting minutes. That first group played really well, the first six minutes we held them scoreless. That’s what we wanted from that group. We have to get other people buying in and do the same thing.”
After the Lancers (0-13 VOL, 4-22 overall) had closed to within 27-19 with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the first half, Manteca (7-6, 11-15) went on a 6-0 run to end the half capped by Gino Campiotti’s full-court buzzer beater.
With time running down, Campiotti — the star quarterback for Manteca’s Sac-Joaquin Section championship football team who signed with Northern Arizona earlier this week — grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled once to the side and hurled a bullet the length of the court. The ball slammed off the glass and found the net for a thrilling end to the first half.
“The kid just finds way to do cool things,” Lewis said of Campiotti. “I’m not surprised. I kind of felt it coming right when he let it go. He’s a stud. It looked like he was throwing a touchdown. “
Campiotti led all scorers with 26 points and he had six rebounds.
“I don’t think I ever hit one like that before,” Campiotti said. “Against Central Catholic I threw one and it hit the back rim only so I was feeling it this year and that was my third attempt I had. When it came off my hand I thought it might actually go and then it went. I threw it straight so it had to hit glass — there was no arc at all. I was really happy.
“My team was just giving me the ball. Matt (Ender) and the other guys hit me at the high post and then it was just one-on-one.”
Ender contributed 13 points with seven assists.
“Our main focus this game was to move the ball and get open looks for everyone and take what the defense gave us,” Ender said. “And that’s what we did.”
JoJo Espinosa paced East Union with 16 points and three assists and teammate Blake Greenlee tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
Manteca 68, East Union 51
The Buffaloes’ Nick Bell poured in 27 points to lead all scorers.
Kendall Ragsdale chipped in nine points for Manteca and Parm Khattra led the Lancers with 25 points.
Manteca 52, East Union 45
Karson Condit and Lorenzo Ceja were in double figures for the Buffaloes with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lancers’ Zelmar Vedder led all scorers with 14 points and teammate Lane Cefalu added nine points.