SALIDA — Manteca had no answer for 6-foot-9, 250-pound center Vincent Olmo in a Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic second-round consolation game against Ripon on Thursday.
Then the Indians’ young guns took over late. Sophomore Troy Brogan hit a late 3-pointer to start Ripon’s finishing 9-2 run, and Ripon upended the Valley Oak League defending champion, 53-46.
Olmo ended with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, while Brogan added 11 points and three steals. Spencer Schoren and Danny Hernandez, also sophomores, combined to score all seven of their points in the fourth quarter. Kyle Sisk, the lone senior starter, contributed 10 points.
“It’s a confidence boost for them and it’s a confidence boost for me,” Olmo said. “It helps us to feel a little more positive going into the next game, we just have to stay focused so we can win it.
“It’s exciting,” he added. “This is a really tough tournament, so it’s nice to be able to say you got a win here.”
Jorge Cedano drained four of Manteca’s five 3-pointers, finishing with 16 points and four steals. The struggling Buffaloes (3-8), though, could not build on their strong start for a second straight day. Cedano buried a 3 from the top of the arc to give Manteca a 14-3 lead, and reserve guard Isaac Bill hit one from deep as the Buffs carried a 17-7 advantage into the second quarter.
The game changed drastically as Ripon (6-6) went to zone defenses to stump the Manteca attack, which mustered only six points in the second period but still led 23-17 by halftime.
Manteca is still working out the kinks with Gino Campiotti (six points), Matthew Ender (two points) and Cedano arriving late from the football season.
“We’re just very undisciplined as a whole,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said. “Stuff like that, we haven’t had enough practices. It’s not making an excuse. Our guys that are here should remember stuff like that and should be able to execute through it. It’s simple basketball, they’ve seen it before. They have to understand the situation and play better basketball.”
Ripon took over in the third, using a 19-point burst to stake a 36-33 lead. Olmo scored nine of the Indians’ first 10 points of the second half, including a 3-pointer, and they took their first lead since the opening minutes at 27-25.
Jordan Burciaga, Manteca’s own promising sophomore, was one of the few bright spots for the Buffaloes. He kept his squad in it late, converting a pair of layups to open the fourth quarter. His second bucket in that stretch gave Manteca its final lead, 37-36. Burciaga produced 14 points and 13 rebounds in one of his best efforts to start his varsity career.
“Jordan plays super hard, and that’s why he’s up (from the sophomore team),” Lewis said. He rebounds well and does a lot of good things. At times he does look like a sophomore but we’ll take it with what he gives us.”
Later in crunch time, Cedano sank the last of his 3s, and Kyle Bolding tied it up at 44-44 with a jumper from the baseline. Ripon gained separation first with Brogan’s big 3-pointer, then from the free-throw line where it made 6 of 12 in the final 1:14.
Neither team shot well from the stripe; Ripon finished 14 of 30, while Manteca was 2 of 6.
“That was one of our worries, can we hit free throws down the stretch?” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “Fortunately, we hit a few.”
More than enough for one of his team’s biggest wins of the season.
“Every day they’re growing up — they have to grow up,” Wright said of his young group. “It bodes well for the future because we know that the teams we play here are all above standard of what we’re going to see down the road. It gives us an idea of what they have to achieve and grow to.”
Ripon gets another tough test today against Buchanan (8-5) of Clovis at noon. Manteca looks to rebound against Vanden (6-5) of Fairfield at 10:30 a.m.
Weston Ranch 77, Turlock 69
Makhi Turner led four Cougars (7-2) in double figures with 23 points, including a 9-for-11 effort from the free-throw line.
Weston Ranch led 41-33 at halftime but needed a 23-point fourth quarter to hold off Turlock (4-7), which was paced by Adrian Espinoza’s 20 points. The Bulldogs made seven 3-pointers to stay within reach.
Gavin Wilburn added 16 points for the Cougars, while Antwann Taylor and Donjae’ Lindsey chipped in 15 and 10, respectively. Micah Vasser hit three 3s for his nine points. They take on Freedom (5-6) of Oakley in a consolation semifinal at 1:30 today.