MODESTO — Manteca was outrebounded 29-18, coughed up 32 turnovers and still had a chance to beat Modesto City Classic co-host Downey in a first-round contest Wednesday.
Downey grabbed two key offensive boards late off missed free throws, and Andrew Raya scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter in the Knights’ 37-33 victory. It was the third straight year that the two teams met in the tournament, with Downey (1-1) winning all three.
Manteca (1-1) will face the Atwater-Modesto loser at 5 tonight in the consolation bracket.
The Buffaloes were paced by Austin Haro’s 13 points, and Miguel Lopez was a sparkplug throughout and finished with 11. Haro was ice cold from the perimeter to start, and Downey led 8-5 after the first quarter. He got into a groove in the second when he poured in nine, but it was otherwise a rusty showing on the offensive end for Manteca.
“We’ll have nights where we don’t shoot particularly well, but we expect our defense to keep us in games,” Manteca coach Dave Asuncion said. “Tonight we played some solid ‘D’, but we have to take better care of the ball and have quality possessions.”
Not helping matters was point guard Brandon Dabney picking up his third foul with 6:39 to go in the second quarter, and post tandem of Stephen Ruble and Michael Hatfield were hardly involved.
“We did a poor job of getting the ball inside,” Asuncion said “Offensively I think we panicked. We didn’t get enough quality possessions where we got the ball up. If you can’t get your shots up you can’t score.”
Manteca committed 10 turnovers in the third period alone but still managed to outscore the Knights 7-6 to take a 24-23 lead into the fourth.
Unforced giveaways continued to plague the Buffs in crunch time. Coming out of a timeout while down 33-31 with 57.3 seconds left, the inbounds pass was lofted over an open Buffalo in the corner and went out.
“Give Downey credit, they put a little bit of pressure on us, but in the second half they took the pressure off and we turned the ball over even more,” Asuncion said.
Later, Manteca sent Downey’s P.J. Wilson to the free-throw line for a one-and-one attempt that he ended up missing. Kevin White pulled down the offensive rebound, was fouled and made one of two free throws to put Downey up by three. On the miss, Downey’s Blake Houser tipped the ball to a Herman Harris, who himself converted one of two from the foul line.
It was a frustrating 10-second sequence for Manteca.
“We did what we were supposed to do defensively, and it’s a box-out drill on the free throws,” Asuncion said. “It happened twice. We have to get those rebounds if we want to win close games.”
Lathrop 49, Gregori 48
At Gregori, the Jaguars couldn’t get a potential game-winning shot off in the end thanks to Lathrop’s suffocating defense.
Point guard Robert Orantes led the Spartans (1-1) with 17 points and was 8 of 12 on free throws. As a team, however, they made just 13 of 25 from the stripe. Lathrop managed to battle through foul trouble and an injury to post T.J. Conley, who rolled an ankle in his first game since undergoing knee surgery.
“We were a little thin tonight, but we found a way to pull it off,” Lathrop coach Bill Slikker said.
Up next is Turlock in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals at 8.