TRACY – Manteca started the first half with a press and the second half with a half-court defense, and both schemes worked well with the Buffaloes more than doubling tournament host Tracy in the first quarter and nearly doubling up the Bulldogs in the third on the way to a 60-30 semifinal win over Tracy in the Tracy Breakfast Lions /Tom Hawkins Girls Basketball Tournament at Swenson Gym.
The Buffaloes (5-6) face Venture Academy of Stockton tonight for the championship at 8.
Manteca led 14-6 after the first period in Tuesday’s contest.
“Our press gave us a nice kick-out early on,” Buffaloes coach Mary Ann Tolbert said. “But it really wasn’t as effective as it was yesterday.”
Leading 28-16 at halftime, the Buffaloes held the Bulldogs (5-7) to single digits in the third and fourth quarters.
“Our half-court defense in the second half is what changed the game for us,” Tolbert said. “We got like five or six stops in a row and that kind of changed the momentum for us.”
Lejla Pepic came out hot for Manteca scoring eight first-quarter points on the way to a game-high 20 points.
“We came out really strong as a team in the first quarter,” Pepic said. “That way we didn’t get ourselves in a hole like we sometimes do.”
Sydnee Fryer added 13 points for the Buffaloes and Rubel Dehal 11 with Fryer nearly getting a double-double with nine rebounds – four in the first quarter – and Dehal pulling down six rebounds. Fryer had four steals.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Fryer said. “We knew we had to come out and get that early lead and then calm down and play our game instead of their game.
“In the second half we were working on our trap to make them throw it away.”
Manteca won the battle of the boards 44-34. Leah Manuleleua had eight rebounds and a block for the Buffaloes and Pepic had five.