Even in limited action, Manteca’s Tydus Verhoeven can make a big impact.
After picking up two quick fouls Tuesday in the Valley Oak League opener with visiting Lathrop, Verhoeven had to watch as his Buffaloes struggled to a halftime tie. The 6-foot-7 senior came back to the floor to start the second half and scored two buckets and assisted on two more to help put Manteca ahead for good in a thrilling 66-62 win at Winter Gym.
“Starting off strong in the second half has been a big focus for us,” said Verhoeven, who finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and four assists. “We seem to always have a lull to start the third quarter and I am proud of the way we came out.
“That’s a good team and they have some good players over there. They are competitive and they are going to scrap and they showed that tonight. But we are young and we are learning and we showed that tonight with this being the first varsity league game for a lot of our guys.”
Verhoeven picked up his fourth foul late in the third period and missed the first two minutes of the fourth, and when he came back in he played as if foul trouble was the last thing on his mind, immediately ending two Lathrop possessions with a block-rebound combination.
Then with a minute left and Lathrop (0-1 VOL, 8-6 overall) having closed to within 60-57, Verhoeven spotted – and maybe heard – a wide-open Gino Campiotti (14 points) under the basket to bump the lead back to five for the Buffaloes (1-0, 7-5).
“It was a big play,” Campiotti said. “We were only up by three at the time and it kind of shifted the momentum and made it too hard for them to get back in.
“My guy left me to go cover Tydus and left me wide open. I am just glad Tydus heard my scream – I am pretty sure the whole place did.”
As has happened often in the last two years for Manteca, Dwight Young (17 points) was called on to hit free throws down the stretch and has happened often, he did not disappoint. Young was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 8 for 8 on the night.
“It was a close game and I know I needed to make those free throws for us to win,” Young said. “In practice coach makes sure we get in a lot of free throws.”
Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis realized his team had been in a fight.
“A win is a win at this point,” Lewis said. “Lathrop is a good team. We knew they were rolling and playing well. We knew it was going to be a good fight, but we played rather sloppy at times. We had an opportunity to put them away and couldn’t finish.”
After Campiotti and Verhoeven got into foul trouble in the second quarter, the bench came through for Manteca and closed a six-point gap to a halftime tie. Trailing by six midway through the period, Inder Randhawa came in for the Buffaloes to score a bucket and Justin Kakala added two more field goals, setting the stage for Dwight Young to bury two of his eight free throws that tied the score 30-30 at halftime.
“Our bench stepped up big time,” Lewis said. “Tydus and Gino both picked up fouls in that second quarter and our bench closed the gap. Our bench was huge – we have been needing that big time the last couple of games and they stepped up.”
Lathrop’s Junior Ballard led all scorers with 24 points and eight rebounds along with three steals and two assists. Teammate Adonis Payton finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartans enjoyed a 42-31 advantage on the boards with 22 coming off the offensive glass. Unfortunately for Lathrop, only eight of its 22 offensive rebounds were converted into baskets.
“This was a tough one,” Spartans coach Craig Ward said. “We made too many mistakes. We have played better against better competition, but we didn’t play that good today. We know we did not play the way we are capable of playing.”
Lathrop 60, Manteca 38
The Spartans exploded for 25 third-quarter points led by Walton Whaley with 14 of his game-high 17 points in the period.
Ronnie Sengphrachanh added 10 points and three rebounds for Lathrop (1-0, 8-6) and Isaiah Victor chipped in nine points and some key blocks.
Sal Safi paced the Buffaloes with 15 points.
Manteca 63, Lathrop 41
Spencer Briscoe was one of four Buffaloes in double figures with 17 points.
Trabron Russell added 13 points for Manteca with Leo Bonilla chipping in 13 points, Leo Bonilla 11 and Jordan Burciaga 10.