Sometimes, a routine can be good.
Manteca sophomore Rubel Dehal has a routine when she shoots free throws and it worked quite well for her down the stretch Monday. Dehal was 5 of 6 from the line in the fourth quarter to help the Buffaloes hang on for a 58-55 win over Franklin-Elk Grove in non-league girls basketball action at Winter Gymnasium.
“I have a routine,” Dehal said. “I dribble three times, look down, look up and then shoot the free throw.”
Dehal led all scorers with 21 points and was 13 of 16 from the line.
“Rubel is clutch,” Manteca coach Mary Ann Tolbert said. “If we are going to go down into something like this there is nobody else’s hands I would rather have the ball in. I trust her and I told her that on the bench.”
With 1:03 showing on the fourth-quarter clock fellow sophomore Lejla Pepic pulled up in the corner and drained a 15-foot jumper that got nothing but net to put the Buffaloes ahead, 58-53. The Manteca defense stepped up and allowed just two more points the rest of the game.
“It was like an instinct,” Pepic said of her clutch shot. “Everything around me just stopped. Sometimes it feels bad when it leaves my hands but that shot felt so smooth.
“I thought this was a really good team effort. We had some defensive lapses but we all played really hard.”
With Dehal, Pepic and Elizabeth Aschenbrenner directing the perimeter, Leah Manuleleua controlled the post for Manteca with 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
This win was a reversal of fortune for the Buffaloes (1-1), who suffered through a 54-21 road loss Saturday to Lincoln-Stockton.
“It was miserable on Saturday,” Tolbert said. “But our girls defensively came out ready to go and I think that helped.
“We do really, really well but we are so young sometimes we break down a little bit but then we regroup and come back out of it.”
The Wildcats (2-3) fell behind by 11 points late in the third quarter and battled back, coming within three points three times but could come no closer.
“These kids just don’t ever give up,” Franklin coach Robert Johnson said. “That is just the makeup of this squad. We have to play 32 minutes no matter what.
“As long as they give 100 percent I am happy no matter what the outcome.”
East Union 67, Davis 46
The Lancers (2-0) overcame a huge disparity in fouls at Dalben Center. East Union was 5-for-11 from the free-throw line, while Grace Davis of Modesto shot 20-for-34.
A 27-9 second-quarter onslaught did the trick for East Union, which was led by Olivia Vezaldenos’ 23 points, four steals, three assists and two blocks. Adrianna Wood added 15 points and seven boards. Ruby Dauby contributed nine points and three steals.
“The second quarter was one of the best quarters we’ve had,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “We did a lot of things right.”
Ripon 31, El Capitan 30
Zaire Davis had 11 points and 12 rebounds as the Indians (2-3) nipped first-year El Capitan of Merced. Jill Jamero and Melanie Ulrich added six points apiece.
Manteca 42, Franklin-Elk Grove 39
The Buffaloes outscored the Wildcats 12-8 in the fourth quarter for the come-from-behind win.
Simran Kaur led Manteca with nine points. Malia Paranwan added seven and Arshjot Kaur six.
East Union 62, Davis 15
Every East Union player scored with Kassandra Avila’s 12 points leading the charge. The Squires (2-0) also got nine points each from Haley Gosney and Dejohna Pryor. They next face Modesto on Thursday to start their 15th annual tournament at 8:15 p.m.
East Union 43, Davis 9
Gizell Garcia spearheaded the blowout win with 11 points. Nicole Noble added eight. East Union (2-0) begins tournament play Thursday at Neil Hafley School.