LATHROP — With the season on the line, Manteca High stepped it up Wednesday, defeating host Lathrop 83-61 in the Valley Oak League finale.
Gino Campiotti and Jorge Cedano paced the Buffaloes (8-6 VOL, 12-15 overall) with 28 and 27 points, respectively. Cedano also chipped in with five assists.
“We had a lot of guys who stepped it tonight,” said Manteca coach Brett Lewis, who can now await the postseason.
He was pleased at how his team moved the ball, particularly in the first half when the Buffaloes bolted out to a 16-5 lead.
The Spartans (7-7 VOL, 10-17) had won their past four games to give themselves a chance at advancing.
“We were playing our best basketball going in,” Lathrop coach Craig Ward said after the season-ending loss. “We came out slow (against Manteca).”
Campiotti initiated the offense early on, driving to the basket, forcing turnovers and feeding Cedano for a 3.
The Spartans behind Dafford McKenzie closed out the opening period with a 7-2 run. McKenzie got it started with a jump hook and forced a turnover with a block and finishing it off on the other end with a layup.
He finished with 15 points, eight boards, seven assists, three steals and a block before fouling out late in the game.
Isaiah Victor and Colin Weis helped pick up the pace for Lathrop, with both hitting treys. McKenzie’s turnaround closed the deficit, 25-22.
But then Kyle Bolding, Jordan Burciaga, Matthew Ender and Cedano did their part to give Manteca a 40-29 lead at the half.
Bolding, Burciaga and Cedano had a pair of buckets each while Ender had three of his six assists for the game in that run.
“We had 11 assists at the half. I told the guys to keep on doing what they were doing,” Lewis said.
It was the Spartans who came out strong. Weis nailed a 3 and scored on a layup off cross-court pass from McKenzie, who followed up missed layup with a dunk.
Weis’ trey midway through the third tied the game at 43-43.
“I thought we would buckle down from there,” said Ward.
Cedano put Manteca back on top with a pair of free throws and Derek Range hit a bucket from close range.
Range’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
“He’s our glue guy,” said Lewis. “He’s our defensive guy. He gets us those big rebounds.”
Range also had the tall order of guarding McKenzie, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Lathrop was outscored 27-14 in the final period.
Victor and Weis both finished with 15 points while Gil Castuera scored seven of his 10 points in the fourth.
Manteca 57, Lathrop 54
Raymundo Solis hit a pair of 3s late in the game to help the Buffaloes in the narrow win at Lathrop.
The Spartans’ Paimon Ahman led all scorers with 18 points.
Michael Arriola and Lorenzo Ceja for Manteca finished with 15 and 14 points repectively. Karson Condit chipped in with six.
Julian Chavez had 12 for Lathrop.