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East Union gives state finalist a run

Sierra claims third straight tourney title at Columbia

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POSTED December 30, 2012 5:24 p.m.

East Union’s boys basketball team had its 11-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, but its lone loss of the season so far may have raised its stock more so than any of its wins.

That’s because the Lancers gave Division V powerhouse St. Joseph Notre Dame a run for its money in the championship game of the 7th Annual Bruin Shootout at Bear Creek High. They were able to climb back from a 13-point second-half deficit and even held a lead during the final minutes before falling, 58-56.

St. Joseph (9-4) of Alameda, where East Bay legend Jason Kidd starred during his prep years, advanced to the state finals in the past two years, winning in 2011.

“It’s a huge game for us going into (Valley Oak) league,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said. “It doesn’t hurt us at all to get our first loss, and I think it gets the monkey off our back.

“We’re going to be hungry and ready to go for league. A lot of people are saying we haven’t been playing great teams, but I think this proves to us and them that we can play with good teams.”

East Union (11-1) went on a 15-2 run to battle back from its double-digit deficit in the second half. Jordan Kron sank the last of his four 3-pointers with 21 seconds left to close the Lancers in by two. St. Joseph then missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 7 seconds to go, but East Union’s desperation half-court heave was well off the mark.

Kron ended up with 17 points for East Union.

“He put us on his back a little bit,” Lewis said.

All-tournament selections Justin Nieto and Jake Danhoff contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively. Aaron Ramos added eight.

The Lancers struggled with the Pilots’ two standout forwards. Lamont Banks, a sturdy 6-foot-3 wing, fired 18 of his 26 points in the second half and earned tournament MVP honors. All-tourney selection Temidayo Yusuf — a 6-7 junior who is drawing interest from the likes of Cal and Stanford — scored eight points in the first quarter but settled for 12 overall because of foul trouble.

“They’re no joke,” Lewis said. “I can’t complain, we competed against a real good team.”

Fuchs Memorial Classic

Sierra 56, Central Catholic 47

The Timberwolves (10-3) ended their nonleague run with a bang at Columbia College Saturday, holding 6-foot-9 John Fenton to just 12 points and dispatching one of the state’s top Division-V squads.

Guillermo Nunez was named MVP of the tournament for the second time in three years after scoring 22 points in the finale. He averaged 20 points in the three-day event. Emmanuel Elijah drilled four 3-pointers and also scored 22 points while earning all-tourney honors.

Oakdale Rotary Classic

Riverbank 72, Ripon Christian 53

The Knights (8-3) faced Riverbank (9-1) for a second time this month, but the rematch was no different in this championship showdown. The Bruins took command early and carried a 33-20 cushion into halftime.

Danny Vander Molen turned in 12 points to pace RC, Eric Broker contributed 11 and Dan Vos had nine.

MC Holiday Classic

Horizon 71, Ripon 55

The Panthers (2-7) from San Diego tallied 12 3-pointers to beat Ripon (3-9), which was led by Derek Hickman’s 13 points. Kyle Wengel hit four 3s for all of his 12 points.

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