Their size presented problems for the rest of the Valley Oak League, but Manteca High seniors Tydus Verhoeven and Loretta Kakala did much more for their team than take up space in the key.
They were named the Most Valuable Players of the VOL after leading the Buffaloes to the boys and girls basketball titles.
The 6-foot-7 Verhoeven remains unsigned but has at least 10 offers from NCAA Division I programs on the table. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 6.0 blocks going into Manteca’s CIF State Northern California Regional Championships Division III opener on Wednesday.
“It’s everything he brings: his IQ, his length, an ability to score in many different ways,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said. “He’s a stat-sheet filler. He was the best player in the league and one of the best players in the area because he impacts the game in so many different ways.”
Verhoeven has five triple-doubles and flirted with a quadruple-double (15 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, nine assists) when the Buffaloes clinched the league championship at Sierra.
Kakala averaged 14.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in her final season at Manteca (13-1, 17-11). An imposing 6-3 presence in the post, she signed with Louisville and became the first Manteca Unified student to earn a spot on the McDonald’s All-American team. Her best effort of the season came against VOL runner-up Kimball, amassing 25 points and 25 rebounds in a 65-52 win. The Jaguars later avenged the loss in an overtime win and prevailed in the rubber match 71-67 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinals.
“She did whatever it took to win,” Manteca coach Ryan Bono said. “If the team needed 25 points and 20 rebounds she did. If she could get her teammates involved and she got 10 and 10 she was happy to do that. That is what made her the most dominant player in league.”
Both Lewis and Bono are the boys and girls Coaches of the Year, respectively. Manteca became the first school to win both VOL championships in the same year since East Union did it in 2005.
Manteca’s boys (14-0 VOL, 24-6 overall) have two all-league first-team selections in guards Dwight Young (15.0 ppg) and Gino Campiotti (14.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg). East Union sharpshooter Gyse Hulsebosch (25.4 ppg) and Lathrop’s Junior Ballard (21.9 ppg) also made the first team.
Weston Ranch freshman point guard Gavin Wilburn has spots on the all-league second and defensive teams. Other second-team selections from the area are Weston Ranch’s Makhi Turner, East Union’s Blake Greenlee and Sierra’s Jaime Ochoa. Maneca’s Matt Ender, Sierra’s Bikram Thiara, Lathrop’s Michael Mills and East Union’s Angel Sena are on the all-defensive team.
Manteca’s Southern Oregon-bound guard Syd’nee Fryer (9.7 Points, 6.8 rebounds) joins Kakala on the all-league girls squad along with fourth-year East Union guard Ruby Daube and Lathrop sophomore Mary Cotton (11.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 2.7 blocks).
East Union sophomore center Donja Payne was named to the all-VOL second and defensive teams. Sierra guard Alison Edwards and Weston Ranch’s Justice Stitt are also second-team members. Lathrop’s Danya Phillips, Manteca’s Malia Parangan and Sierra’s Jasmin Correa made the all-defensive team.