By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Seniors shine as Manteca gets even with rival
East Union can still claim VOL title outright next Tuesday
East Union-Manteca girls basketball
Brianna Parker (11) leads the fastbreak for Manteca with East Union’s Nylah Dyson (1) on her heels. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

Still stinging from previous losses against top league opponents, Kerena Malone and the rest of Manteca’s seniors were focused on bringing their best effort Thursday in an anticipated rematch with rival East Union.

The Buffaloes spoiled EU’s attempt at securing at least a share of the Valley Oak League championship, successfully defending their home floor in an impressive 46-37 victory.

The Lancers (8-1 VOL, 21-5 overall), who had an 11-game winning streak snapped, host Kimball next Tuesday for a winner-take-all, regular-season finale. They took down Manteca (6-3, 17-7) in their previous meeting, 58-54, when four Buffaloes fouled out.

Malone was one of those players who had an early exit, but in this go-around, not even a late-game cramp was going to keep her out. She finished with a game-high 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.

“It was our senior night and I definitely did not want to lose,” Malone said. “I came out with high energy. The first lost definitely affected us a lot. We should have won the first one, but the foul count was unfair. We came out for this one ready to get the win.”

The 6-foot-1 senior center had a leg cramp up while battling for a rebound, and she hobbled off the court with 4:50 remaining.

East Union, to its credit, cut what was once a 17-point deficit down to six, 42-36, on Donnese Payne’s uncontested layup with 3:32 remaining.  

It was a clash between two of the VOL’s top post players, and Payne had her way with Malone off the floor. Payne, a 6-foot junior, produced 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Malone re-entered with 3:03 to go and scored her team’s first points of the final period when she converted a layup after an inbounds pass from Marcelina Chaparro with 1:50 left.

Brianna Parker later iced the big win with two free throws.

Parker contributed 13 points for the Buffaloes, while Chaparro had six points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

“Especially on senior night, the girls wanted it 10 times more than the average game,” Manteca coach Oscar Calix said. “Marcie (Chaparro) showed up, Parker showed up — all of our seniors played their butts off. I owe it to these girls, man. They deserve this.”

Manteca closes league play Tuesday at Central Catholic. Although the VOL title is out of reach for the Buffs, they want to make a deep run in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. They may have to do so without three key rotational pieces, two — including senior Makayla Kakala — of whom are nursing injuries, and another who is academically ineligible.

“We’re getting ready for playoffs and this was pretty like a playoff game,” Malone said.

Two-time defending champion East Union isn’t looking ahead to the postseason just yet with league crown on the line.

The Lancers struggled to get untracked Thursday largely because of Manteca’s stifling zone defense that kept the dynamic guard tandem of Nylah Dyson and Taylor Snaer at bay. Snaer, who can put up 30 on any night, was limited to 13 points, though she still remained productive with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Dyson had seven points, four rebounds and three steals before fouling out with 2:49 left.

East Union struggled with turnovers, committing 20, and had an off shooting night, making just nine of 24 free throws and two 3-pointers.

“You gotta tip your hat to Manteca, they made a defensive adjustment and they played well with it,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “I thought both teams played hard. Both teams were very physical on 50-50 balls. Good competitiveness by both teams going after rebounds and loose balls.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” he added. “I thought we were playing aggressive enough in the first half where we were getting them in foul trouble and the double bonus. That’s exactly how we wanted to play, was to keep attacking them and get to the line, but you have to shoot a better percentage from the foul line.”

The bitter taste of this defeat may serve as motivation for the next game. East Union had defeated Manteca in seven of their last eight showdowns, and its last loss this season was during winter break.

“It’s over. It’s behind us,” Agostini said. “That’s the best thing we can do is move on. I told the girls that you play in these rivalries and they’re cheering, and that’s awesome that they’re cheering for the win and they deserve to win the game, they played better. But just understand, they’re in third place and you have a chance to play for the VOL title Tuesday night.”


Junior varsity

Manteca 41, East Union 19

Kalaja Reese netted eight points and five steals, while Tamayah Valentine racked up eight points and seven rebounds in the Buffaloes’ landslide victory.

Jayda Anderson contributed six points, and Genesis Maliangi pulled down 12 rebounds.

Izzy Avalos led East Union with six points and nine rebounds. Bella Crabb had five points, five steals and seven boards.



Manteca 46, East Union 12

Saniyah Anthony spearheaded the Buffaloes with 11 points and six rebounds. Talia Shelbourne added eight points, six rebounds and three steals.