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EAST UNION HOLDS TURF

Lancers win 32nd straight at home; VOL title in sight

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EAST UNION HOLDS TURF

East Union's Krystal Young finds herself all alone in the middle of the Oakdale defense before attempting a short jumper from the key.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 5, 2010 2:43 a.m.
One streak stayed alive Thursday night at Dalben Center, and East Union High’s girls basketball team is inching closer to continuing another one.

The Lancers claimed their 32nd straight victory on their own floor by beating a game Oakdale squad, 63-54. Their last defeat at Dalben Center came on Dec. 11, 2007 when they dropped a 42-37 decision to Hilmar in a non-league contest.

Krystal Young, one of five seniors on the East Union roster, shrugged off the home winning streak, saying that a bigger prize is at stake.

With Sonora remaining as the Lancers’ lone threat for the Valley Oak League crown, they can claim at least a share of their fourth straight championship and fifth in six years with a win at home against Weston Ranch next Tuesday. Weston Ranch is responsible for East Union’s only conference loss.

East Union improved to 11-1 — 19-4 overall — in a league that has seven of nine teams with .500-or-better records. Sonora sits alone in second at 9-4 and kept pace by blowing out first-year varsity Lathrop., 59-29 at home Thursday.

East Union is ranked seventh in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s first of three releases of its Division III playoff power ratings, and six other VOL teams are battling for some of the 16 available berths.

“The only thing that matters right now is winning,” said Young, who turned in an outstanding all-around effort that included 21 points, nine rebounds and four steals. “We’re trying to win out, get a better playoff position and keep the other teams in league as far away from us as possible.”

Oakdale (6-5, 15-5) put up a good fight for a half and outscored the Lancers in three of the four quarters.

The difference was the third.

Down 25-21 to start the second half, East Union opened with a 20-5 run that spanned 6 minutes and outscored the Mustangs 26-11 in the quarter.

The scoring spurt involved key shots from several different Lancer players. Briona Fontenot scored six of her eight points during that stretch.

“It’s human nature,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said of his team’s sluggish first-half effort. “It’s tough for these girls to get up for every single game in a 16-game VOL season.

“It took them a while to get going, but in this league you have to be ready to grind it out every night. But you have to credit Oakdale; they’ve been playing better basketball as the season goes on.

The Mustangs managed to close the gap in the fourth by scoring 10 unanswered points, a flurry punctuated by Naydee Fernandez’s jumper from the top of the key to make it 49-46 with 4:10 remaining.

East Union did the rest of its damage from the free-throw line to keep Oakdale at arm’s length, going 10 for 14 down the stretch and 17 for 25 overall.

“It took us a while to recover from that (third quarter), and East Union hit their free throws” Oakdale coach Gary Smith said. “Other than that our kids played well. But when you’re in a situation where you win a lot, you do the things that you need to do to keep winning — they did and we didn’t.”

Sophomore forward Shalane Jackson added 12 points and nine rebounds for East Union, and Lexy Posz finished with nine and six.

Oakdale was led by Cassandra Clark’s 20 points but also got key contributions from 5-foot-10 sophomore center Dominique Powell (eight points, nine rebounds, four blocks, three steals), Carley Barton (10 points, five assists) and Alanna Jones (nine points, seven rebounds, two blocks).
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