Lincoln High’s Andre Kelly torched the Manteca High Buffaloes a year ago when the two teams squared off.
The 6-foot-8 standout junior for Trojans was back on Thursday, scoring a game-high 34 points while spoiling the Buffaloes’ season opener at Winter Gymnasium.
The shorthanded Manteca (0-1) squad fell, 74-61.
That was no excuse for Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis.
“We still managed to compete against a very good basketball team,” he said.
Tydus Verhoeven carried Manteca through most of the game. The 6-7 senior matched Kelly, for the most part, finishing with 30 points. He also had 14 rebounds – six of those were on the offensive end – to go along with three blocks and a pair of steals.
“Tydus played a great game – he was like a man out there,” Lewis said.
The key stretch of the game took place at the start of the second half. Up until then, the Buffaloes kept it close, trailing Lincoln, 31-25. Verhoeven had 18 of his team’s points.
“Watching (the Trojans) go on a 10-0 run was not a good way to start the third quarter,” said Lewis, who recalled Kelly getting 25 points against his team during the previous matchup.
Kelly did most of the damage during that stretch, scoring twice and drawing the foul both times. He not only completed both three-point plays but also threw in a spin move to the basket.
Manteca answered back later in the period, with Dwight Young hitting a big trey and Verhoeven throwing down a dunk to close the deficit, 46-44.
Kelly then showed off his range, connecting on a 3 and doing another twisting drive for the hoop. Jacob Leffler came off the bench for a quick three, padding Lincoln’s lead, 56-49. Prior to fouling out, Kelly closed out his big night with one more dunk.
The only time Manteca led was on a Verhoeven layup to start the game.
“This was our first game – we have guys who have very little (varsity) experience,” Lewis said.
Verhoeven kept the game close, scoring on a spin move, an in-bound pass, and a two-handed jam.
Still, Lincoln had a 17-15 edge after one quarter.
Kyle Bolding scored on a layup for Manteca to kickoff the second half. But then the Trojans put together a 10-0 run, taking advantage of turnovers by the Buffaloes.
Lincoln (3-0) had already played a few games this season.
Manteca, meanwhile, will have to make do as half the team is still involved in the football postseason. “The guys we have right now are battling,” Lewis added.