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Manteca, Lathrop to play for 5th place at Tracy/West tourney
Defensive adjustments propel Buffaloes to comeback victory
Lathrop guard Mikey Pereznegron splits the defense of Kimballs Derek Van de Streek (43) and Joe Walls. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

TRACY – The Manteca High Buffaloes made the necessary half-time adjustments in Thursday’s Tracy / West High Winter Holiday Boys Basketball Classic.

“We did a better job of talking (on defense),” said Manteca coach Dave Asuncion following his team’s 62-46 victory over Valley High. “We kept losing track of the ball.”

The Vikings (7-5) used an array of interior passing along with some stellar outside shooting to stake a 23-12 first-quarter lead.

Arron Redd, Valley’s 6-foot-5 senior forward, hit a pair of early 3s, connected on a slam dunk at the start of the second quarter, and then used his size advantage to score in the post during the second half.

He finished with a game-high 26 points.

Manteca (7-4) got a lift in the second quarter from Robert Arroyo, who came off the bench to nail a 3 and followed that up with a put-back shot.

Prior to that, the Buffaloes were down 30-19.

Trailing 32-26 at the intermission, Manteca opened the third quarter by scoring 10 unanswered points. Ben Odell and Taylor Hasal led the attack, with both also forcing turnovers while coming up with steals.

At one point, Hasal not only broke the press but delivered on the other end with a layup. Odell closed out the period by hitting a pair of free throws, pushing the Buffaloes advantage, 42-36.

Hasal finished with 17 points while Odell had 16. Austin Haro chipped in with 13.

Haro and Steven Ruble, who are both sophomores, had their hands full while converging defensively on Redd.

“They’ll likely have their hands full all season long,” Asuncion said.

Ruble had five rebounds in the third, including two on the offensive glass.

Late in the third, Valley pulled to within two on a pair of Redd free throws. But 3s by Haro and Hasal early in the fourth gave Manteca some breathing room.

The Vikings pulled to within six after a trey by Gurjit Singh and free throws by Redd and Robert Perry, who finished with 12 points.

In final minute, Hasal’s two free throws made it a three possession game. Odell then hit the front end of one-and-one to maintain that advantage. Haro iced the game with his two from the line.

“We did a good job today to close out the game,” Asuncion added.