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Skirmish breaks out in battle with vertically-blessed Sonora
Manteca High center Nick Burrows gets his shot off in the key over Sonora s Mark Relei (25) and Nick Bates. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Manteca High’s boys basketball team showed some fight in its 53-41 loss to visiting Sonora Friday, but it got ugly when a real fight broke out midway through the fourth quarter.

A player from each team was ejected with 3:30 to go and Sonora (2-2 Valley Oak League, 9-6 overall) ahead, 48-33. They got tangled up after the Sonora player went up to block a shot from behind, and after some pushing and shoving a punch was thrown and landed. No one was hurt in the fracas as administrators and coaches rushed to the gym floor to restore order.

“It’s unfortunate,” Manteca coach Dave Asuncion said. “The game can get emotional and the kid lost his emotions a little bit. He was apologetic and very remorseful for his actions.

“I thought it could have been prevented if the game was called differently, but we were aware of how it was being called all night.”

Manteca was whistled for 21 fouls to Sonora’s nine. And while Sonora was awarded 28 free throws, making 15 of them, the Buffaloes were just 4-of-8 from the line.

The discrepancy in fouls further handcuffed the Buffaloes (1-3, 8-9), who were at a considerable disadvantage in height to begin with. Tayler Thompson, a 6-foot-8 center, finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks for the Wildcats, who also got contributions from the 6-6 tandem of Ben Bates (nine points) and Mark Relei (seven points, seven rebounds).

With the frontcourt trio doing its usual damage inside, guard Jack Gardella torched the Buffaloes from the perimeter. He scored 12 of his game-high 17 in the first half and drained four 3-pointers.

“We had guys right in his face and he still hit a couple 3s,” Asuncion said. “He’s a good shooter.”

Manteca countered with 6-2 sophomores Austin Haro and Stephen Ruble in the post. Reserve Nick Burrows, Manteca’s only player standing taller than 6-2 at 6-5, picked up four quick fouls in the third quarter with Ruble already in foul trouble.

“You just try and front your man and not let him get the ball,” Haro said. “We tried our best to box them out and keep them off the key, but it was pretty tough for us.”

Haro grinded his way to five points and 13 rebounds. Tim Baker kept the Buffaloes in the game early on after Sonora had staked a 7-0 lead, nailing two 3-pointers in the opening quarter en route to scoring 12 points. Ben Odell led the team with 15 points and four steals.

Manteca trailed 24-11 at halftime and by as much as 16 in the fourth quarter. Taylor Hasal led a spirited comeback in the fourth, firing seven straight points to close the Buffaloes in 50-41 with 1:47 remaining.

Josh Dudley knocked down three of four free throws to end the threat for Sonora.


Manteca 53, Sonora 47

Buddy Reeder buried two free throws with 26.8 seconds left to put Manteca up by four, and Mike Hatfield grabbed a defensive rebound on the next possession to seal it.

Hatfield spearheaded a balanced scoring effort for the Buffaleos with 15 points. Miguel Lopez added 10 points, Brandon Dabney had nine and T.J. Muhar added eight.


Manteca 51, Sonora 47

Ahead 26-25 at halftime, the Buffaloes (4-0, 8-0) clamped down in the third quarter and limited Sonora to just four points.

In the end, Jason Maravilla hit two free throws to ice the game for good. He and Keyshawn Shackleford each poured in 11 points, and Marcus Montano led the way with 19.