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MHS bench keys win vs. Lincoln in opener
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Brett Lewis got an early test of his team’s depth in a 70-56 victory over Lincoln of Stockton, and the first-year coach was pleased with what he discovered.

In his first season on the bench at Manteca High, Lewis has the pieces to wear down playoff-caliber opponents..

Marcus Montano and Tyler Graves led four players in double figures and the Manteca boys basketball team overcame early foul trouble to win its season opener.

Montano and Graves scored 12 points apiece, while Tydus Verhoeven and 6-foot-8 center Anand Hundal each had 11.

The Buffaloes started fast with a 5-0 spurt to start the game and put the clamps on Lincoln’s Robin Hong to build a 10-point cushion by halftime. Manteca outscored the Trojans 17-9 in the first quarter, limiting Hong, a potent scorer, to just two points on free throws.

Ramon Gallardo, Angel Perez and Ryan Shipley were charged with containing Hong, who had just six of his game-high 20 points in the first half.

“We knew that Lincoln was a high quality basketball team with some very good players,” Lewis said. “We wanted to jump on them early. I was happy with the start of the game.

“We missed a few layups and shots in transition and we got quick early stops. We easily could have been up 10- or 12-0, but we continued to battle.”

Manteca sustained its early lead without the services of three starters. Lewis was forced to sit Hundal, Verhoeven and Gallardo with two fouls in the first quarter. All three sat out the second quarter.

Even so, Manteca outscored the Trojans 19-18 in the second stanza.

The Buffaloes tallied 30 points from the free throw line and were paced by Graves’ 10-for-11 effort.

Verhoeven had 10 rebounds to solidify his first double-double. He and Hundal each had four blocked shots.

“Tonight was a battle. I am very pleased with our effort tonight. Lincoln was a great test for us early in the year,” Lewis said. “... We had a lot of questions answered tonight about our young and inexperienced bench. It was the perfect definition of a team win tonight and we will take it.”

Manteca (1-0) will travel to Ripon today for a Foundation Game, kickstarting a busy week. The Buffaloes will play four games during a seven-day stretch, highlighted by Thursday’s showdown with Riverbank in the first round of the Riverbank tournament.

“It definitely looked like the first game o the season for both teams,” Lewis said, “but now we know where we need to get better at for our four games this week. We will clean things up and be ready to go for Ripon (tonight).”