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Mantecas 6-9 posts clutch up in 2OT victory
BBSK--Manteca-Berkeley file pic
Kenny Wooten, dunking against Sierra on Jan. 8, racked up 26 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks to help Manteca win a 76-74 overtime thriller over Berkeley in the MaxPreps Martin Luther King Jr. Classic at Hass Pavilion on Monday. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

BERKELEY — Anand Hundal made up for a last-second gaffe in regulation with a dominant effort in overtime as he helped Manteca escape Haas Pavillion with a thrilling 76-74 win over Berkeley in the 19th annual MaxPreps Martin Luther King Jr. Classic on Monday. 

The matchup was part of a six-game showcase hosted by De La Salle and featured some of the top teams and players from Northern California and beyond. 

While 6-foot-9, Nevada-bound forward Kenny Wooten also had a good game, it was the 6-9 Hundal who came up big in bonus time. In the second of two overtime periods, he tipped in a missed Wooten free throw to give Manteca (14-3) the lead for good with 1:21 remaining and later knocked down two of his own foul shots. Hundal accounted for six of the Buffaloes’ seven points in the second overtime and was named the Muscle Milk Player of the Game.

Hundal finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Wooten wowed the partisan Berkeley crowd with several impressive dunks and led the Buffaloes with 26 points, 20 boards and seven blocks. The last two of Wooten’s blocks might have been a game-saving plays with seconds left in each overtime session.

At the end of regulation, Hundal fouled a Berkeley player on a 3-point attempt, allowing the Yellowjackets (11-4) to force overtime with the ensuing free throws. 

“They carried us, big time,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said.

They had to. Manteca struggled with its floor game throughout and committed 35 turnovers while Tyler Graves-Kelso, the team’s top reserve post player, went down with a knee injury in the second quarter that Lewis described to be “more of a scare.”

“That took away a lot of depth for us,” Lewis said. “Anand played the whole game, and Kenny came out for a little bit in the first quarter. We played a sloppy game, but Kenny and Anand hit some big shots for us and came up with huge rebounds and stops in overtime.”

Dwight Young also played a key role for Manteca. With Berkeley leading 56-51 in the fourth, he nailed a 3-pointer and a runner to anchor a 10-0 run. Young wound up with 14 points, and Tydus Verhoeven contributed nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Berkeley standout Niles Malone scored 21 points and was one of four Yellowjackets in double figures including Bryant Monroe (11 points), who missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to seal the win for Manteca.

It was a nice bounce-back performance after the Buffaloes dropped a 72-68 heartbreaker last Friday at Weston Ranch in a first-place battle in the Valley Oak League. They return to league action tonight when they welcome 1-16 Oakdale and are expecting another challenge Friday as they play host to Central Catholic (14-2).

“We still have to play tomorrow,” Lewis said. “Teams are not going to roll over for us. A lot of our starters played a ton today, so we can’t just expect to show up and win.

“We’ve played a lot of big games in loud gyms, so hopefully that continues to help us out.”