By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Nuggets off to hot start, winning 3 for 4 tournaments
The Manteca Nuggets Under-12 girls basketball team. FRONT ROW: Leticia Infante, from left, Madeline Yslava, Jilleen Raquion, McKenna Balmut, Marina Salyer and Tiare Tu’uga. BACK ROW: Lynniah Herron, from left, Jasmine Calix, Shania Ratliff and Jessica Hasal. - photo by Photo Contributed
The Manteca Nuggets Amateur Athletic Union Under-12 girls basketball team has enjoyed a hot start to the 2009 season, winning three out of four tournament championships, and 13 of 14 games.

In April, the Nuggets won the Santa Cruz Slam, beating the Lady Outlaws, 72-22, the Stockton Mavericks, 56-54, and the Golden Gate Phoenix, 41-23.

Tia Tuuga and Leticia Infante dominated the post in all three contests. Tuuga took home MVP honors, and Infante was named to the all-tournament team.

Next up for the Nuggets was the Stockton Mavericks’ tournament on May 2.
The Nuggets nabbed 32 steals in a 49-21 win over the Bay Area Warrior Elite, then topped the Solano Select, 39-33, to earn a spot in the title tilt against the Mavericks.

In the championship, Manteca upended the tournament host, 45-35, thanks to the heady play of point guards Jessica Hasal (all-tournament) and Shania Ratliff (MVP), who consistently broke the Mavericks’ full court press.

The Nuggets gave their moms a Mother’s Day treat with a Modesto Magic Challenge championship, culminating in a 51-37 title win over the Livermore Mystics.

The Nuggets beat the Central Valley Hornets, 40-26 and the Ceres Shock, 41-20.

Jasmine Calix (all-tournament) lit it up from distance, draining four 3-pointers, while Jilleen Raquion took home MVP honors after dropping 19 points in a 23-18 win over the Warrior Elite.

Manteca is headed to Reno for the Memorial Day Jam Fest Saturday.

Summer Shootout
The Manteca Nuggets boys AAU team kept up its winning ways over the weekend, claiming tournament gold at San Jose’s Summer Shootout, behind relentless team defense.

Dylan Alexander frequently required double and triple-team coverage from his new role at the point, which opened up his teammates around the hoop.

Guillermo Nunez and Miguel Gomez were the primary benefactors in an opening round win over the San Jose Saints, 50-13.

Manteca took down the San Jose Pilots, 44-35, in Round 2, avenging a previous loss to the Pilots with clutch free throw shooting down the stretch. The Nuggets drained nine of 10 from the stripe in the final five minutes.

Escalon was the next victim, 48-28, in the semifinals. Nick Burrows had four assists, while Marcus Patterson and Marcus Cotton worked overtime on the glass.

Manteca claimed the crown with a 45-38 win over the East Palo Alto Saints.

Down 21-20 after a sloppy first half, the Nuggets recovered with an impressive defensive performance spearheaded by Devin Nunez and Hendrick Gaalswyk.

“We played well enough to win through some individual adversity this weekend,” Manteca head coach Bill Nunez said. “As a coach, it is great to see them work through those types of games and get those ugly wins.

“We’re proud of them, we have some very young, strong and unselfish talent on this team.”

The Nuggets head to Reno for the Memorial Day Invitational Saturday.

Babe Ruth 16-18 Division
Ace’s 5, Nationals 4
Ripon and Escalon have combined forces this season in the Babe Ruth 16-18-year-old Division.

Sponsored by Schemper’s Ace Hardware, the squad is known as the Ace’s and Tuesday at Mistlin Park in Ripon, the Ace’s picked up their first win, 5-4, over the Modesto Nationals.

Hayden Koch provided a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

Leighton Pangilinan (3 for 4) got the win on the bump after the Ace’s sent five hurlers to the hill. The group held Modesto to just six hits.

The home squad rapped 11 knocks, meanwhile, including three from Colby Gomes.

Jake Loogman and Marcus Jerome had two each.

Ripon-Escalon will travel to Modesto Saturday for a double header with the Modesto Tigers at Grace Davis High.

— Brandon Petersen