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Manteca coach, guard garner top VOL honors
Manteca High guard Sharon Washington squirts through the Sierra defense for a layup during their Jan. 25 crosstown meeting at Winter Gym. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
The Manteca High girls basketball team appears to be back on the rise after a decade-long championship rout.

Led by Valley Oak League MVP Sharon Washington and Coach of the Year Andrea Hiatt, the Buffaloes (12-2, 22-5 overall) earned their first title since 2000. They also advanced to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time since that same 2000 team captured the section’s Division-III crown.

Washington will leave behind as arguably one of the program’s all-time greats. In league this year, she averaged 19.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.8 assists while hitting 22 3-pointers.

Eight times she reached the 20-point barrier in conference play, and only once did she score less than 16. On Jan. 25, she scored just seven points in a 64-29 rout of Sierra but played with a heavily-wrapped left thumb.

Sophomore guard Mikayla Hasal was selected to the all-league first team, freshman Tia Tuuga made the second team, reserve Jaqi Gutierrez earned honorable mention and energetic super-sub Karleasha Thompson earned a spot on the all-defensive team.

East Union (11-3, 20-7) was the only team in the VOL to beat Manteca, but the Lancers failed to continue their impressive four-year championship run. Weston Ranch (11-3, 17-9), which shared second place with EU, had something to do with that by going 2-0 against the defending titlist.

Third-year varsity guard Lexy Posz is joined by Briona Fontenot on the first team. Posz is a first-team selection for a second straight year, while Fontenot emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous scorers in her senior campaign. Double-double threat Shalane Jackson is the lone player selected to both the second and all-defensive teams.

Talented point guard Timnesha Wilson returns to the all-league first-team list for Weston Ranch, which had its best season in the program’s seven-year varsity history. Emoni Wilson (first team), Jazmine Strane (second team) and April Seth (honorable mention, all-defensive) were also recognized.

Sierra (7-7, 15-11), one of five VOL teams to qualify for the postseason, was led by seniors Alysia Atkins (first team), Jordan Johnson (second team), Michelle Arroyo (honorable mention, all-defensive) and Stephanie Vanni (honorable mention).

Senior Jasmine Elder is the first Lathrop High player to earn at least a spot on the all-VOL second team. Jazlyn Simon, who has since transferred, made honorable mention as a freshman last year.