Sydney Fryer poured in 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists, but it was the play of the supporting cast that allowed Manteca to keep visiting Central Catholic at bay in a 56-44 win Wednesday at Winter Gym.
With McDonald’s All-America nominee Loretta Kakala limited by foul trouble early, reserve forward Kacy Bolding helped pick up the slack after the suddenly-hot Buffaloes (3-0 Valley Oak League, 6-8 overall) stormed out to a 15-1 first-quarter lead.
The Raiders (1-2, 10-5) were able to chisel away at the deficit, but Bolding scored seven of her 10 points in the second period. Kakala finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Selena Lopez added two key 3-pointers off the bench in the fourth each time Central Catholic cut the margin to single digits. Rhiannon Genilla contributed 10 rebounds, and freshman guard Jayda Jackson grabbed six to go with four assists.
“It was a great team win tonight, and it was good to see,” Manteca coach Ryan Bono said. “As much as having Sydney and Loretta out early (in the season with injuries) hurt us it also benefitted us, because we had girls like Sarah (Inderbitzin), Kacy and Selena step up. Those were some girls who started in some real tough games for us, and now they’re coming off the bench with experience.”
Central Catholic did well to stay in the game following Manteca’s opening flurry. Alexandra Candelario’s 3-pointer with 3:18 left in the first was the first field goal for the Raiders.
Fryer buoyed the Buffaloes’ sizzling start, accounting for 11 of their first 13 points. She then found Simran Kaur for an open layup off dribble penetration to make it 15-1.
“We prepared for their 1-3-1 (defense) and it showed,” Bono said. “They did exactly what we practiced.”
Fryer struck again for Manteca’s final four points of the half, extending the lead to 30-13. The Raiders went into the break with some momentum behind an 8-0 run capped by another trey from Candelario, who also collected seven rebounds and seven steals.
Fourth-year varsity standout Danielle Friedrich did all she could to keep Central Catholic in the fight. She scored 10 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter while making 10 of 12 free throws. Friedrich also grabbed 11 rebounds, eight on the offensive end.
Although the Raiders were outrebounded 54-37, they didn’t allow Manteca to break it open by crashing the offensive boards and forcing 25 turnovers.
“Our shots weren’t falling today, shots that they normally make,” Central Catholic coach Alison Murata Nichols said. She added that an eye injury to starting senior center Lourdes Herrera during practice Tuesday “threw our rotations out of whack.”
Manteca appears to be on the right track after struggling through a brutal nonleague schedule with its two star players missing most of it. The Buffaloes are on their first three-game winning streak of the season but has a tough stretch ahead starting with first-place Kimball back at Winter Gym on Friday. After that is powerhouse Modesto Christian next Monday in the MLK Showcase and cross-town rivalry games with Sierra and East Union.
“That’s why we play the tough preseason schedule; we do it for the experience,” Bono said. “Hopefully this will get us going a little bit.
“It’s great to be 3-0 right now, but I tell the girls after every game that it’s over after midnight. We’re starting off tomorrow 0-0.”