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Lancers outgun short-handed Escalon

Kron fires 21 points in return from year-long break

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Lancers outgun short-handed Escalon

Aaron Ramos rises toward the hoop for two of his seven points in East Union’s season opener against Escalon at Dalben Center Thursday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 30, 2012 1:11 a.m.

East Union showed off depth and versatility in its season opener against Escalon Thursday at Dalben Center.

The Lancers dominated the short-handed Cougars despite their top returning player leaving the game with an injury and allowed just six points in the fourth quarter en route to a 60-39 victory.

Escalon (0-1) suited up just nine players with the rest preparing for Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV football championship game against Central Catholic.

Thursday’s contest marked the return of Jordan Kron, a varsity standout as a freshman and sophomore. Bound for UC Riverside on a baseball scholarship, Kron took a season off the basketball court to concentrate his efforts on the diamond. He led the Lancers with 21 points, including three 3-pointers.

“It was definitely an adventure,” Kron said. “Being out for almost two years I’m a bit rusty, but it feels great to be back in the game, for sure.”

But this is “not a one-man team,” as Kron put it. Andrew Ruiz gave the team a lift off the bench, nailing two 3s and scoring 12 points. Jacob Danhoff, a 6-foot-6 center who was well tested by Escalon’s active bigs, ended up with 10, and Aaron Ramos added seven points, three assists and six steals.

The Lancers raced out to a 21-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back. They momentarily lost a little bounce to their step after standout guard Justin Nieto left the game with 1:51 to go in the second. He and Escalon center Matt Silveira got tied up while battling for a rebound, but Nieto remained on the floor with blood leaking from a cut on his head.

Escalon went on to score the final five points of the half, closing in 29-22.

“Justin is our heart and soul — he does everything for us out on the floor,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said, adding that Nieto is questionable for Tuesday’s nonleague game at Riverbank. “We had a little lull there in the end of the first half and let them back in the game after he got hurt, but we came out in the second half and had guys step up.”

Also key for East Union was its defense of Brian Gregorio, a slick 6-4 post who scores in a variety of ways near the basket. He paced all scorers with 23 points, but 16 came in the first half. Gregorio especially made EU pay from the foul line, where he was 13-of-17.

“He shot 12 free throws in the first half, so we wanted to keep him off the line in the second half,” Lewis said. “We wanted to defend him (standing) straight up, not let him drive to the basket as easily and make him shoot over us. He’s a great player; we knew he was going to get his.”

Sophomore

East Union 62, Escalon 60

Gabe Chavez sank three key free throws and pulled down a big defensive rebound all with under a minute left in the Squires’ wild overtime victory. Taariq Davis put the team up for good with a put-back layup with 1:15 to go, making it 59-58.

Lucas Garcia spearheaded EU with 18 points, Cody Keener had 15 and Nisar Fazl added 12. Chavez finished with nine.

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