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Balanced scoring helps keep WR atop VOL

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Jason Steele goes up in traffic for two of his 13 points in Friday's VOL win over host East Union.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 16, 2010 3:58 a.m.

The East Union boys basketball team opened the second period trailing by just one point despite a lackluster start, but the poor effort caught up with them over the long haul in a 76-56 loss to visiting Weston Ranch Friday.

The combination of an inspired Weston Ranch effort and a lackadaisical showing from the Lancers gave it an inside track on the important Valley Oak League matchup. The win keeps the Cougars (4-1, 8-8 overall) in a three-way tie for first place.

“Our key tonight was the balanced scoring,” Weston Ranch head coach Ryan Bono said. “When our team plays well, we’re balanced. To me, that is really the key for us to be successful.”

It spelled success for Weston Ranch against the Lancers, finishing with six players in double-figures, led by John Carungay and Jason Steele’s 13 apiece. Steele turned his inherited minutes from CharRay Poole, who was out with an ankle injury, into a solid showing, providing major contributions.

“Jason played a heck of a game — he carried us” Bono said of his senior guard. “He really did a great job on the offensive boards; he rebounded well, he played defense all night. His job was to guard (Jordan) Kron and score when he could.

“He played a strong all-around game tonight.”

Steele led the Cougars with eight rebounds, often leading the fastbreak in the other direction after crashing the boards. Carungay held the hot hand in the second half, closing out the contest with 10 fourth-quarter points, including a deal-sealing three-point-play with 2:42 remaining in the contest.

East Union (2-3, 7-8) was able to pick things up on the offensive end when Robert Vaughn scored eight points to close out the third period, but Vaughn was the only Lancer to score in the quarter’s final four-and-a-half minutes.

“Our effort is really the main thing that I’m disappointed about,” East Union head coach Brett Lewis said. “We got a good crowd here and we just weren’t able to rise to the occasion. We play best when we’re fired up ready to play, and it just wasn’t there tonight and Weston Ranch definitely took advantage of it.

Kron led East Union with 13, connecting on three 3-point baskets, including back-to-back bombs to close out the first half that cut the Cougar lead to five. Weston Ranch quieted the comeback hopes, outscoring the Lancers 25-19 in the third quarter.

The Cougars got tremendous play out of their backcourt, including Melvin Allen, Nathan Moises, Carungay and Steele. Each player found a way to impact the ball game on both ends of the court.

Yet, even throughout a valiant Cougar performance, the bulk of the blame still finds rest on the shoulders of the Lancers.

“We were all fired up before we came into the game,” East Union’s Ricky Inderbitzin said. “But we had no intensity once we came out here. You could just see it — no one talking, we were just out here going through the motions.

“We’ve been down before, we just have to bounce right back.”

Inderbitzin chipped in 12 points, pulled down six boards and handed out three assists. Vaughn finished the contest with 12 points, seven rebounds and senior Tyler Bylow added seven points.

The Lancers will try and get back on track when they travel to Ceres to take on Central Valley Tuesday, and Weston Ranch will be back on the home court the same evening when it hosts the Lathrop Spartans.

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