Manteca coach Greg Azevedo pleaded for his undermanned team to play with more energy Thursday, especially as it went into the fourth quarter trailing visiting rival East Union.
Jaslyn Woods delivered, spearheading a late run that rallied the Buffaloes to a 54-48 victory. The senior guard accounted for nine points in their closing 11-0 spurt over the final 2 minutes, 36 seconds.
“I think our pressure (defense) just got to them,” Woods said. “It was a matter of knowing who their shot makers were and making them give it up.”
Woods finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, helping Manteca (3-0) cope with the absence of standout fourth-year point guard Kyaira Jacobs. Both teams were missing key players because of either injuries or coronavirus health and safety protocols.
Marci Chapparo added 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Gabriella Azevedo chipped in 13 points and four steals. Kyshanti King paced East Union with 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
“We didn’t have our No. 1 player, Kyaira Jacobs, and she averages over 20 points per game,” Azevedo said. “The girls had to step up and the bottom line was energy. The team that comes with the most energy is going to win.”
The Lancers showed their own burst of energy late in the third quarter as they rolled to a 41-30 lead following a conventional 3-point play from Taylor Snaer.
Manteca was held scoreless for the first 7 minutes of the second half until Brooke Agdoma sparked the Buffs with back-to-back buckets within 5 seconds of each other. She drew an and-1 foul with 50.1 seconds left, and after missing the free throw Agdoma grabbed the long rebound and buried an open elbow jumper.
“In the third quarter we were getting the 50-50 balls and in the fourth quarter they did,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “Both teams gave a great effort, can’t question that. Overall it was a good game, but both teams were gassed. We just haven’t been able to do a whole lot of conditioning in practice.”
Manteca trailed 41-35 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the momentum continued to tilt in its favor in the opening minute when Snaer picked up her fourth foul. East Union struggled to get back on track offensively with its primary ball handler sidelined, and the Buffaloes were able to force seven turnovers in the final period.
Snear ended with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“That was definitely an impact on the game with her having to sit for about five minutes,” Agostini said of the foul trouble. “We just have to do a better job of managing the fouls so that we’re not picking up those second and third ones too early.
Gabriella Azevedo jump started Manteca’s fourth-quarter comeback, scoring seven points including a high-arching 3 in an 8-2 run. The Buffaloes took the lead for good with 1:17 remaining with Chapparo’s layup.
“I told the girls at the beginning of the game it was going to be a matter of runs,” coach Azevedo said. “We just had to be consistent with our energy, rebounding and defense.”
His Buffaloes capped the first half with another run, with Woods erupting for nine unanswered points in the final 1:20. She capped off her flurry with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the deep left wing.
“I saw the clock and knew I just had to throw it up,” Woods said.