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Duncan lifts WR to win despite pain

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Eric Duncan goes up for 2 points Tuesday against East Union


POSTED January 16, 2013 12:16 a.m.

He chased the East Union guards from corner to corner, around screens and through the paint.

At the other end, he dribbled, scooped, flew and tumbled to the bucket, wincing as he went.

And just when it looked like his body had had enough, just when it looked like cramps would score a fourth-quarter knockout, Eric Duncan found another gear.

Good thing, too, because Weston Ranch needed every last second from its iron man in a 56-50 victory over East Union on Tuesday evening at the Dalben Center.

Despite a tight-as-a-guitar-string right calf, Duncan finished with 20 points and seven assists, including a nifty drive-and-kick to Daiveon Leverette with 51 seconds left.

The 6-foot-8 forward powered the ball through the rim with a one-handed slam, punching the final nail into East Union.

And it took a few.

“That was a 12-round fight,” Weston Ranch first-year coach Chris Teevan said, bouncing off the floor and through the lobby. “What a grinder. What a grinder. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

“The games are going to be grinders down the stretch, and I don’t know that Weston Ranch has been able to win too many like that in years past. They’re learning to now.”

The Lancers (2-3 VOL, 13-4), playing short-handed and undersized at nearly every position, kept Weston Ranch on tilt throughout.

Aaron Ramos and Jordan Kron had 18 points apiece as East Union twice built six-point leads early in the third quarter.

“You have to applaud East Union. (Coach Brett Lewis) does such a great job with those kids,” Teevan said. “It’s like I told the guys, it doesn’t matter if the Miami Heat takes the court, you know East Union will be within 10.”

Momentum began to shift in East Union’s favor just before the intermission.

Ramos sent the Lancers into the locker room on a high with a step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 26-25 lead. He had five more in the first four minutes of the third quarter as East Union looked poised for the season’s first upset.

“Ramos really stepped up for us,” Lewis said. “Their defensive plan was two let him go and focus on some of our other guys, and he stepped up.”

After two free throws by forward Jacob Danhoff (12 points), the Lancers led 37-31 with less than five minutes left in the period.

And then, inexplicably, East Union went flat. The offense turned the ball over eight times in the quarter and went scoreless the rest of the way as Weston Ranch snapped off a 13-0 run.

The Cougars led 44-37 heading into the fourth and never trailed again.

“We knew they had a good run in them. We went flat and it hurt big time,” Lewis said. “We’re just trying to find our way right now. We’ll get it figured out.”

The Cougars’ triggerman during the second-half blitz: Duncan, the Cougars’ 6-foot-1 ball of energy.

Duncan routinely beat East Union’s guards off the dribble, and once in the lane, he was free to choose his adventure.

Would he call his own number? He did, scoring the first four points of Weston Ranch’s third-quarter flurry at the rim.

Or would he create for his teammates? He did that, too.

Leverette tallied 13 of his 20 points in the second half, including six to end the third quarter. His two-handed flush with 1:18 left came after Duncan drew the defense, giving Leverette clearance to play above the rim.

Duncan battled a calf cramp in the fourth quarter, and twice looked ready to succumb to the injury.

During a timeout with 6:04 left, he limped to the bench where he received treatment on the muscle. Later, with 2:14 remaining, he missed two free throws after his calf seized up on him.

Still, he never left the floor.

“How about Eric Duncan? What will. What tenacity. I always say that effort and will are a skill,” Teevan said. “I think that Eric Duncan is the most overlooked player in this area. He willed us through tonight.”

The victory keeps the Cougars (11-5) on collision course with Sierra, the defending Valley Oak League champions. Both teams are tied atop the league standings at 5-0.


Weston Ranch 56, East Union 39

Jordan Hollins scored 17 points and Weston Ranch set the tone for Tuesday’s victory with a 16-4 first-quarter spurt.

Erron Duncan chipped in nine for the Cougars.

Lucas Garcia paced East Union with 16 points and three 3-pointers, and Cody Keener finished with 10.


East Union 46, Weston Ranch 40

Behind a balanced attack and stingy defense early, East Union improved to 5-1 in Valley Oak League play.

Eric Flores had 11 points, Daniel Ramos 10 and Austin Miller nine for the Lancers, who held Weston Ranch to just five points in the first quarter.

“We’re a big defensive team,” East Union coach Cody Lee said, “and the really set the tone.”

Jerico Gonzalez scored a game-high 18 points for the Cougars, now 3-2 in the VOL

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