MODESTO – Manteca led through three quarters Wednesday night with a double-digit lead in the second period, only for host Central Catholic to take its first lead early in the fourth quarter and eventually pull away for a 55-49 Valley Oak League boys basketball win that tightens up the VOL standings.
This was the first league loss for Manteca (5-1 VOL, 19-5 overall) with the Raiders (4-2, 14-8) and East Union (4-2, 15-8) a game back and Kimball two games back at 3-3, 14-9.
After taking its first lead to start the fourth quarter, Central Catholic took the lead for good on a shot by Wesley Payne to make the score 45-44 with 4:43 remaining. With 1:11 left the Buffaloes looked to be in position to tie the game when they stopped a Raiders penetration and appeared to have possession of the ball when it squirted out and Malachi Miller (21 points) covered it and hit a fade-away jumper to make the score 51-47. That was all Central Catholic would need.
Payne and Miller hit a pair of free throws apiece in the final 37 seconds to ice the game.
At 6-foot-5 apiece, Payne and T.P. Wentworth (11 points) along with Miller (6-4) formed a tall trio that eventually came through for the Raiders. Minus three third-period free throws for John Wright, Payne, Wentworth and Miller accounted for all the second half points for Central Catholic.
“They are way bigger than us,” Manteca coach Jason Hitt said. “They should be playing better basketball than us. They just have a huge size advantage.
“We came out playing really well and their Malachi (Miller) got a big put-back down the stretch and in a tight game you can’t let that happen. We were avoiding contact and we were afraid we were going to get our shots blocked when they only average .9 blocks on the season.”
According to Raiders coach Mike Wilson, his squad was not ready to play at the opening tip.
“I think that they came out, and this is sad to say, more ready to play than us,” Wilson said. “From the opening tip the decisions we made were poor. We were kind of flat-footed and Manteca came out hitting their shots and they were bouncing. They always play good defense.
Once we settled down we were able to start executing what we wanted.
“I think they got a little tired and I was hoping that would cool down their shooting. When kids get tired, or when anybody gets tired, their shooting tends to draw back a little bit. I think a little bit of that happened.”
Noah Lyons led the Buffaloes with 20 points behind four 3-pointers. Peyton Nieman hit three 3-pointers and totaled 11 points.
Manteca travels to Tracy to face Kimball on Friday night at 7:30.
Central Catholic 33, Manteca 26
The Raiders outscored the Buffaloes 12-4 in the fourth quarter.
Joe Parengelli led Manteca with 13 points.
Manteca 48, Central Catholic 43 (OT)
Jesus Gomez had a double-double for the Buffaloes with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Antonio Farley added nine points and six rebounds, Sean Lockwood chipped in six points and Devon Richardson grabbed six rebounds.