Tenacity on defense and poise on offense were key ingredients in Sonora High School's big 46-34 victory over Manteca in the Valley Oak League girls' basketball opener for both teams Tuesday night at Bud Castle Gym.
The Wildcats improved to 7-6 overall while handing Manteca, generally considered the VOL favorite, only its third loss in 14 games.
The defense was provided by senior forward Rachel Wolfe, who'll be in the nightmares of high-scoring Manteca star Sara Cross for weeks to come. Wolfe denied Cross the ball for long stretches, forced her into tough shots when she did gain possession, and held her without a 3-pointer until Sonora had a 41-29 lead with less than four minutes remaining.
Cross finished with nine points, about half her average and only three more than Wolfe scored.
On offense, Sonora committed only 10 turnovers against consistent Manteca pressure, and tormented the Buffaloes both with the perimeter shooting of Wolfe, Lynnyatte Jordan (11 points) and Haley Hohengarten (two 3-pointers), and with the high-low post play of Jessica Peterson (11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists) and Nichole Horvath (eight points in the second half).
At Hilmar, Summerville (8-3) gave head coach Darcy Wingo a late Christmas present with an impressive 51-46 win over Hilmar in the Bears' first game back from the winter break.
"It was a tough game, one of those games where you really don't know what to expect especially coming off the break," Wingo said. "But I was really pleased. We played really good defense, which was been a pleasure because (Hilmar) is a good team."
With the game tied 36-36 entering the fourth quarter, Summerville's Melissa Wise and Bridgette Berry took matters into their own hands. Wise scored six of her 11 points in the final period and Berry hit two clutch free throws down the stretch in leading the Bears to their sixth straight win.