Manteca scored the game’s first 13 points Tuesday night behind Brianna Parker’s nine opening-quarter points on the way to a lopsided 48-35 girls basketball victory at Sierra, clinching the third and final playoff slot in the Valley Oak League.
Parker finished with a game-high 12 points along with five rebounds and two steals.
“Once I made the first one I kind of kept the momentum going,” Parker said.
The Timberwolves (3-5 VOL, 10-11 overall) were limited to single digits in the first and second quarters. Marcelina Chaparro (nine points) led the aggressive defensive effort for the Buffaloes (5-3, 16-7) with a team-high five steals and five rebounds.
“Our defense was pretty solid today,” Chaparro said. “We rotated really well. We worked on that a lot in practice and it really showed today.
“Our defensive effort will really help us when we play East Union on Thursday. We are ready and we are excited to play.”
Manteca coach Oscar Calix thinks his team is starting to hit its stride.
“From the beginning, I have told the girls we are a really good team,” Calix said. “We had some bumps in the road and we just haven’t got our engine flowing. We have the potential to be really, really good as long as we play together, and I think tonight that showed with the girls all playing together and everybody scoring. We were moving the ball around, and defensively we just played really, really good.
“We are getting ready for playoffs. We are going to move up to D-II and it’s going to be really competitive. That’s why we threw some really challenging games on our schedule, and we’re ready. We know what it takes. We were there last year, and some of the girls know what it is like to take that hard loss in the playoffs and we are ready to roll.”
Jade Ikharo just missed a double-double for the Buffaloes with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Sierra coach Rudy Valencia said that the Timberwolves did not play their style of basketball and that proved to be costly.
“We were off in the beginning and one of the things I mentioned to the girls was not to get in our heads and not to let the excitement of playing Manteca overwhelm us,” Valencia said. “We needed to play our style of basketball, be calm and confident.
“We definitely didn’t show that in that first period when Manteca went on that run. With a team like that, when you give them a big jump on you it is hard to catch back up. We definitely suffered from that first quarter.”
Emma Gilmore paced Sierra with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists. Taylor Zalunardo added eight points, and Marissa Gonzalez (10 rebounds, four steals) chipped in five points.
“Emma Gilmore is one of our captains and is definitely one of the highlights from this season,” Valencia said. “She understands the game really well, she is very smart and she is a hard worker. She will be in gym shooting after and before practice. She is the kind of person that leads by example.”
The Timberwolves play out the schedule Thursday at Kimball and next Tuesday at home against Oakdale. Manteca plays its last two league games hosting East Union on Thursday and in Modesto next Tuesday against Central Catholic. All games are at 7:30 p.m.
Sierra 33, Manteca 30
Emmeline Werner and Janessa Barnes led the Timberwolves with eight points apiece.
The Buffaloes’ Jayda Anderson earned high-point honors with 10 points. Kalaja Reese added seven points and Genesis Mailangi pulled down 10 rebounds.
Manteca 30, Sierra 24
Saniyah Anthony paced the Buffaloes with a double-double at 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Manteca’s Sienna Lowery added 10 points and four rebounds with Talia Shelbourne pulling down nine rebounds.
Prabhnoor Kaur paced the Timberwolves with a high-point effort at 15 points.