LATHROP — Anand Hundal will probably be on time for practice from now on.
The Buffaloes junior was late for practice on Saturday and as a result sat out the first quarter of the Valley Oak League boys basketball opener between Manteca and host Lathrop. The Spartans kept it close for a while but once Hundal got established it was a different story as he flirted with a triple-double in a 78-50 win for the Buffaloes.
“Anand not starting for us in the first quarter was big,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said. “I love the kid but a rule is a rule and he was a little late to practice on Saturday so we had to sit him.”
Hundal quickly hit eight points when he got into the game in the second period.
“In the second quarter you could see his presence right away and in the second half you saw how we play with him in the game. I felt like we started rolling from there.”
Hundal led all scorers with 21 points while making nine blocks and grabbing eight rebounds.
“It felt good, but I should have had it,” Hundal said of the triple double. “I am a little disappointed in myself.
“But it was a good win.”
Marcus Montano added 17 points behind three 3-pointers for the Buffaloes (1-0 VOL, 9-4).
“We have been practicing for this season opener,” Montano said. “We have been working on getting better.
“We have been preparing and luckily we got things done tonight.”
Midway through the second quarter the game four lead changes and three ties when Manteca closed out the half on a 14-6 run and although the Spartans (0-1, 1-10) would chip away at the Buffaloes lead, Lathrop would not regain the lead.
“That is the story of our season,” Spartans coach Nate McGrath said. “We have played most everyone we have played tight for two or three quarters and then we have that one hiccup.
“I don’t know if it is because we are tired or we have a sense of give-up, but it is my job to figure it out.”
Isaiah Ellis led Lathrop with 19 points and Tarman Bajwa hit three from beyond the arc and had 15 points.
Manteca 56, Lathrop 52
The Buffaloes prevailed in triple overtime and held Lathrop to two points in the third extra period.
Manteca’s Matt Ender led all scorers with 18 points. Ascari Johnson added 11 points and Jose Garcia eight.
Roman Martinez paced Lathrop with 16 points. Idowu Olaleye added 10 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and two blocks with Isaias Hunter scoring nine points and Kamari St. Leon seven.
Manteca 56, Lathrop 46
Michael Ballard poured in 31 points for the Spartans.
Gino Campiotti led the Buffaloes (1-0, 8-2) with 15 points followed by Richon Nash with 11 points and Cameron Reis with nine. Stanley Becerra added 11 points for Lathrop.