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Manteca edges Central Valley girls basketball squad
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team used its high-energy defense to overwhelm visiting Manteca in the early going of their Valley Oak League season-opening showdown on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

The Buffaloes turned the tables over the final two-plus quarters on their way to securing a 49-43 victory over the Hawks.

"If we made our free throws and finished at the basket, it would have been a different game," Central Valley head coach Jesse Padilla said. "We could have blown it wide open."

Alyssa Long scored a team-high 12 points for the Hawks, who shot just 26 percent (5 of 19) from the foul line. Phylicia Martinez, Julie Calderon and Amanda Lopez had 10, nine and four points, respectively. Whitney Richardson, Gigi Sahota, Lizette Covarrubias and Giselle Mendoza finished with two points each.

Morgan Salsedo and Davina Bennett had 12 points apiece for the Buffaloes. Brianna Wallace and Sharon Washington tallied eight and four points, respectively. Jaqi Gutierrez and Kristi Llamas both scored three points. Cynthia Perez contributed two points. Lexi Ziakas added one point.

Manteca outscored Central Valley 34-21 over the final 19 minutes, 22 seconds.

The Hawks opened up a nine-point lead three minutes into the second quarter. The Buffaloes scored seven straight points to close the gap to two at 22-20 with 1:18 remaining in the first half. Manteca rallied after Martinez exited the game.

"Once Phylicia got into foul trouble, they started chipping away," Padilla said. "It's a totally different game when she's not out there."

Manteca beat Central Valley at its own game after intermission. The Buffaloes applied pressure on defense and forced 13 turnovers. The Hawks turned the ball over just nine times in the opening half.

"They figured us out by the end," Long said.

Central Valley would have had a chance to tie or win the game at the end of regulation if officials didn't mistakenly give the visiting team four extra points earlier in the game. The Buffaloes were awarded two points in both the second and third quarters due to Manteca scorekeeper errors.

"They did," Calderon said with a look of disbelief on her face.