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Manteca finishes season sweep of Cougars
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Staff reports of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
With a double-digit lead going into the locker room Manteca seemed in position for an easy win, but the Buffalos had to work to close the deal in their 63-54 win over the visiting Weston Ranch Cougars Saturday in Valley Oak League action.

Weston Ranch (6-6 VOL, 13-10 overall) fought back into contention with a 16-point third quarter, but clutch free throw shooting from Manteca’s Sharon Washington in the fourth led to the Cougars’ third loss in its last three VOL games.

“Down the stretch they fought back and made it a really close game,” Manteca head coach Andrea Hiatt said. “Thank God we hit some of our free throws when it counted. We got some huge defensive stops when we needed and we capitalized when we needed to most.”

The Buffaloes were horrific from the line throughout the contest, connecting on just 14-of-36 free throw attempts. Washington on the other hand was solid, making 9-of-12 of her pressure-filled attempts, including seven natal makes in the game’s fourth quarter.

“We wanted to make sure we got the ball into Sharon’s hands once they started fouling towards the end,” Hiatt said. “I knew she could knock them down and she really made some key free throws to help us pull away.”
Weston Ranch point guard Timnesha Wilson was the leading scorer for the game, pacing all scoreres with 23 points. Washington finished with 16 for the Buffaloes, while teammates Mikayla Hasal and Davina Bennett added 12 and 11, respectively.

Wilson did all she could do in the losing effort, knocking down four 3-pointers to help her Cougars stay in the contest.

“She is an all-around great player,” Hiatt said of Wilson. “She is very tough to defend. Tonight she drove to the hoop; she did a little step-back 3-pointer; she’s so fast.

“We put our game plan around her and she still lit us up for 23.”

Manteca (8-5, 15-9) will try and keep its postseason hopes alive with a strong showing against the Timberwolves at Sierra High Thursday, while the Cougars will try and stop their losing streak with a contest with East Union Tuesday.