Cyrus Allen wasn’t ready for his season to end. Few high school seniors are ready to turn in their uniform.
Allen scored eight of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to try to propel the Golden Valley High boys basketball team past Manteca, but it was the Buffaloes making the big shots late to pull out a 68-65 win over the Cougars in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs on Wednesday night.
“I was hoping we could come out with a win, but I’m glad we fought,” said Allen, who finishes his four-year career as the second all-time leading scorer at Golden Valley. “I had the best players for teammates. I love them all.”
The No. 10 seed Manteca (13-15) was able to erase a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter with the help of a 9-0 run.
During the run, Allen picked up his fourth personal foul with 5:32 left and Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter was whistled for a technical foul. Manteca’s Jorge Cedano (24 points) sank the two free throws awarded to the Buffaloes after the technical foul.
Cedano then scored minutes later to give Manteca a 59-57 lead with 3:57 left in the game.
“I got a ‘T’ because I was upset with differential in fouls,” Hunter said. “I need to keep my composure there. What a mistake, but you live and learn.”
The Cougars regained the lead as Allen, who also finished with 11 rebounds, scored six consecutive points to give GV a 63-61 lead with 2:04 left in the game.
Gino Campiotti then hit one of two free throws to pull Manteca within one point, and then Campiotti (15 points) scored the next trip down to give the Buffaloes a 64-63 lead with 1:10 remaining.
Cedano pushed the lead to 66-63 as he scored from the baseline with 24 seconds left.
Golden Valley called a timeout and ran a play for a three-point look, but couldn’t get off a clean shot. Instead, Devin Martinez (16 points) drove to the basket and scored to pull the Cougars within 66-65 with 5 seconds left.
Cedano was fouled and made two free throws to extend the lead to 68-65 with 3.7 seconds remaining. Golden Valley got the ball to Isaiah Daniel, who was short with a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
The Cougars finish the season with an 18-10 record. Etrell Bowers added 12 points and nine rebounds for Golden Valley.
“You hate to see it end,” Hunter said. “I think it’s a successful season. Eighteen wins is nothing to look down on. It was a great league. We had battles every night, just like tonight. It was a good year because of the kids we had. I love these guys. We had a lot of fun.”
Bear Creek 64, El Capitan 60 in Merced – The No. 13 seeded Bruins (18-9) erased a 10-point halftime deficit to upset fourth-seeded Gauchos in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.
Bear Creek outscored El Capitan 36 to 22 in the second half.
“We were up 10 at the half, but it wasn’t the right 10,” said Gauchos coach Adrian Hurtado. “We didn’t feel comfortable as coaches with the 10-point lead. They had a couple of bigs that were tough to guard. They were getting offensive rebounds or get fouled. We tried to stay in front of them.”
The Gauchos took a five-point lead in the second half but Connor Lanz hit two big 3-pointers late for the Bruins.
Mark Sellers led El Capitan (22-7) with 28 points.
“We had a hell of a year,” Hurtado said. “It’s hard to think about that now because we lost one we’re not supposed to. Our seniors paved the way. This was just my second year with this group and they broke a lot of barriers down.”