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Washington helps Manteca end six-game skid vs. Cats
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Manteca High’s Sharon Washington bursts past of Sonora defender Kelli Keefe for a fourth-quarter bucket in transition Thursday at Winter Gym. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
Sharon Washington wanted this one badly and played like it.

Manteca High’s fourth-year varsity star Sharon Washington scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Buffaloes beat Sonora, 57-33, for the first time in four years Thursday at Winter Gym.

Freshman Tia Tuuga added 10 points, nine rebounds and five steals for Manteca (4-0 Valley Oak League, 13-2 overall), which last defeated the Wildcats (2-2, 7-8) on Jan. 30, 2007, 54-52.

“Sharon’s the one who reminded me about that before the game,” Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt said of the team’s six-game losing streak to Sonora.

“We talked about this game all week,” Washington said.

The Chico State-bound guard was in attack mode to start, pouring in nine points while involving teammates, evidenced by her four assists, in the first quarter. Manteca led 20-11 after the opening quarter and 32-25 at halftime despite Washington resting for most of the second period.

She later scored the first nine points in the fourth quarter to stretch the margin, 54-30.

The key for Manteca in the second half was defense, but it wasn’t its usual full-court pressure and half-court trap that did the trick.

Sonora’s four-year standout, Kelli Keefe, was held to two points in the second half and finished with just nine. Hiatt attributes that to the man-to-man defense of Mikayla Hasal and sparkplug reserves Mia Ramirez (6 points, 5 steals) and Karleasha Thompson.

And for a 12-minute, 18-second stretch in the second half, Sonora was held without a field goal. Samantha Knowles ended the drought for the Wildcats with 1:06 remaining, taking a feed from Marie Marinovich for a layup.

“We don’t run a lot of man (to-man defense), we just wanted to get the ball out of Keefe’s hands and make them run an offense that didn’t involve her,”  Hiatt said “Karleasha, Mikayla and Mia did a great job of shutting her down.”