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Liberty Ranch stuns Manteca after down 17
Manteca Highs Brandon Dabney rises above Liberty Ranch player Zac Justice (2) for a layup in transition. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

The Liberty Ranch boys basketball team trailed by 17 points in the first quarter, had its best player foul out late in the fourth and missed its final six-free throw attempts at Manteca High’s Winter Gym on Monday.

And won.

With 6-foot-5 standout DeAndre Stallings watching from the bench, the visiting Hawks from Galt pulled it out in overtime, 57-56. Stallings fouled out with 1:19 left in regulation but had already left his mark on the game, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the third quarter alone to lead the comeback charge.

“We started so poorly, and we’re a young team making mistakes on the road,” said Liberty Ranch coach Josh Williams. “We never gave up. We just battled and battled and chipped away. I was proud of their hard work and their resilience.”

Liberty Ranch (9-4) again showed its bounce-back ability in overtime after it led by four with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth. Manteca’s Michael Hatfield drained two free throws with 20.2 seconds to go, and Brandon Dabney deflected the inbounds pass that was recovered by the Buffaloes (7-5). Austin Haro buried a jumper from the left elbow to tie it with 10 seconds on the clock. Liberty Ranch’s Chris Childs had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but his attempt from the top of the key rimmed out.

Isaiah King (10 points) accounted for all four of Liberty’s overtime points, while Haro (12 points) sank a 3 with 14 seconds left to keep the Buffaloes in it.

Manteca had two opportunities to win it in the end — one resulting in a turnover forced by Liberty Ranch’s full-court pressure, and the other a missed desperation heave from Dabney.

Michael Hatfield and Miguel Lopez each finished with 13 points to lead Manteca.

“Right now we’re getting ready for league,” Manteca coach Dave Asuncion said. “Hopefully we can learn from being in a close game that went into overtime, because those are the types of games we’re expecting in (the Valley Oak) league.”

Still, it was a brutal loss after leading 20-3 to start the second. Freshman Tydus Verhoeven hit three of the team’s four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, while Liberty Ranch struggled to get its shots to fall.

“You’re obviously going to be real happy being up 20-3. We just kind of fell asleep,” Asuncion said.

The Hawks scored the final 10 points of the second quarter to get on track, but still had much work to do down 26-15 at halftime.

Defense further ignited Liberty Ranch’s offense, as it forced 18 turnovers in the second half and overtime period. They took their first lead at 36-35 just 23 seconds into the fourth quarter on a nifty give-and-go sequence in transition between Isaiah and Garrison King.

While Manteca had a clear advantage in height, Liberty Ranch was able to make better use of its quickness.

“We knew off the bat that our speed was going to be to our advantage,” Williams said. “I just kept telling my guys to speed the game up and the faster the game got the more it was to our advantage.”

Manteca heads to Gregori (Modesto) Friday for its final nonleague test. That gives Asuncion another chance to work out the kinks. Most teams have had their full rosters available for more than a month by this point, but Manteca had several key players join late from the football season.

“We got a late start,” Asuncion said. “We’re not making excuses, but we have to get better and we have a short time to do it.”

Beyer 68, Lathrop 63

In Modesto, Lathrop (6-3) did well to stay in contention despite facing a severe discrepancy in free throws attempted. Beyer (7-7) was 29 of 44 from the line and was awarded 24 foul shots in the fourth quarter alone.

The Spartans, who held Beyer to only six second-half field goals, had four starters foul out while attempting only 12 free throws of their own.

Nilo Yuson paced Lathrop with 20 points before fouling out. Nick Obazuaye added 18, and Eric Spencer had 13.

Sophomore boys

Manteca 62, Liberty Ranch 47

Frankie Lopez, Kevonte Boone and Tyler Graves scored 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively, to anchor a balanced effort against the visiting Hawks.

Sophomore girls

Ripon Christian 45, Tokay 2

The Knights (10-6) held Tokay scoreless over the final three quarters of the third-place game in the Ripon Tournament.

Julia Ray and Bailey Broker fired 12 and 10 points, respectively. Jessica Orozco pitched in with nine points, seven steals and five assists. Jessica Van Vliet was named to the all-tournament team.

Freshman boys

East Union 65, Tracy 38

Chris Molina accumulated 29 points and 14 rebounds, as the Pages rolled to the Block M Tournament championship on Saturday.

Angel Sena added 15 points, and Scott Morenzone had 11.

Beyer 71, Lathrop 54

Lathrop trailed by 16 at halftime and struggled to get back in it while converting only 10 of 22 free throws.

Adonis Payton’s 18 points and seven rebounds led the way for Lathrop. Michael Mills contributed 12 points and five boards.

Freshman girls

Ripon Christian 48, Tokay 16

Tess Thang scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds to spearhead Ripon Christian in the third-place game of the Ripon Tournament.

Beth Westeyn averaged 12 points and 13 rebounds in the three-day tourney.