RIPON — For a game that Manteca High coach Brett Lewis called a “glorified scrimmage,” it sure didn’t play out like one Monday night at Ripon.
Lewis’ Buffaloes overcame a sloppy start to win 63-58 behind sophomore guard Tydus Verhoeven’s 23 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Montano came through in the clutch for Manteca, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter while draining three 3s in the second half.
“(Ripon coach Rod Wright) and I were talking before the game and we were both playing to win,” Lewis said, adding that it was an opportunity for all 11 of his players to get playing time. “It’s a glorified scrimmage, really, but we wanted to see how guys react. It was good that it was a close-game situation.”
The nonleague duel was one of 154 Foundation Games contested in the Sac-Joaquin Section. A portion of the admission fees from Foundation Games, which began in 2003 for volleyball and basketball, goes to the section’s A. Dale Lacky Scholarship and Women in Sports Conference. Foundation Games do not count against records.
Ripon used an effective zone defense to race out to an 18-6 lead. The Indians (1-0) scored the final 13 points in the period while forcing nine turnovers. Manteca (1-0) chipped away in the second quarter, making 12-of-14 free throws to keep Ripon within reach 31-25 heading into halftime.
“We thought we were a good zone offensive team and this proved that we aren’t,” Lewis said. “We have some time to work on it the next couple of days. We went from seeing a couple teams that press us the whole time to a team that sits in a good matchup zone. They run it well, and we kind of went away from our stuff and tried playing one-on-one basketball instead of team basketball.”
Angel Perez’s reverse layup gave Manteca a 40-38 lead with 2:19 remaining in the third. It was the Buffaloes’ first advantage since the 3:52 mark of the opening quarter. Ripon led just once from that point.
Considering Manteca’s superior length and depth, Wright was pleased with how his young team competed. Ripon was buoyed by the sophomore guard tandem of Aaron Paschini (21 points) and Cole Stevens (15 points, four assists, three steals). Out-of-state transfer Mario Roach contributed 13 points but fouled out with 4:57 to go.
Undersized posts Cody Haines (five points, nine rebounds) and David Onochie (two points, six rebounds) worked valiantly against the 6-foot-6 Verhoeven and 6-8 Anand Hundal, but Manteca ultimately won the battle of the boards, 40-28.
“When people look at Manteca they’re thinking they’re going to beat Ripon by 20, at least,” Wright said. “This was a good game for us because we know that we can compete with everybody else.”
East Union 58, Ripon Christian 57
The host Knights used a suffocating press to close the game on a 12-1 run, but a last-second Ripon Christian put-back rolled out to give the Lancers a one-point victory thanks to Chris Molina’s free throw with 4.2 seconds remaining.
Molina’s free throw was the only point for the Lancers in the game’s final four minutes, as the Knights press forced three five-second in-bounds violations and three other turnovers in that span.
“It is not something we practiced at all,” Ripon Christian coach Ron Vander Molen said. “We don’t usually press a lot but they did a pretty good job with it, so I am sure it is something we can use in the future.”
East Union coach Ryan Tarr knows his team can do better down the stretch.
“No excuses,” Tarr said. “We should be able to handle pressure. We should be able to handle the press and make free throws to not end up in that situation.”
The Knights tied the game with 10 seconds left on a tip-in by Tristan Vos, the fourth offensive rebound of that series.
The player of the game was young Gyce Hulsebosch, a sophomore for the Lancers who led all scorers with 30 points behind six three pointers.
East Union’s Arvind Singh had four 3-pointers for 12 points. Travis Vander Molen had 22 points for Ripon Christian with Sean Broker adding 15.