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Jackson leads Lancers past Bear Creek

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East Union's Shalane Jackson looks to pass the ball during first half action of the Lancers' 49-34 win over Bear Creek High Wednesday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED November 26, 2009 1:43 a.m.
Shalane Jackson gave a nice glimpse of what to expect from her sophomore season, leading East Union High to a season-opening 49-34 win over the visiting Bear Creek Bruins Wednesday at the Dalben Center.

Jackson turned in a game-high 12 points, including a crucial completion of a three-point play in the game’s final minutes pushing East Union back to a double-digit lead immediately following a Lancer timeout.

The second-year varsity player showed no signs of a sophomore jinx, lifting the Lancers to a 26-19 halftime lead with seven points and timely defense against a solid starting Bear Creek front court.

“She is a tough matchup problem,” East Union head coach Jim Agostini said of Jackson. “She can put the ball on the floor and she can post up, so we just kind of sit back and see how they are going to defend her.”

The Bruins (0-1) didn’t have an answer, fronting Jackson only to see East Union lob it into her, or watching as the agile post-presence glided to the basket with an array of down-low moves.

“She had the big buckets for us tonight,” Agostini said. “She showed two or three really nice up-and-under moves that were really impressive for a young lady at that level. Shalane is really coming along.”

East Union (1-0) jumped out on the Bruins 14-8 after a period of play, but allowed Bear Creek to keep things close by outscoring them by a single point in the second period. The Lancers were effective early offensively, but clearly were outmatched on both the offensive and defensive boards.

The Bruins took claim of a significant height advantage, but their dominance on the boards would only last a half as East Union found a way to win the battle on the glass over the final two quarters.

“We definitely addressed it at halftime,” Agostini said. “We saw it in the stats and I just thought we came out really soft on the boards. It is something that we have worked on in the short season. We spoke about it at halftime and they responded.

“Early in the season you want to see how your young team is responding to coaching they haven’t had before, and we liked their response.”

The youth the Lancers will be dealing with over the long haul looks to be poised for a nice run in a wide-open Valley Oak League campaign. Senior Kristen Bautista teamed up with junior Lexy Posz to handle the floor general duties, but East Union will have to depend on several first-time varsity players if they plan on pushing for another postseason berth.

“We absolutely met my expectations for the season opener,” Agostini said. “We’re a real young team and we’re trying to find our way. There were new players playing with each other for the first time, there were first-game jitters; I thought for our first game they were good and they did meet our expectations.

“There are a lot of expectations here and these girls take pride in meeting those expectations.”

Millisent Puahi led the Lancers in scoring in the second half, chipping in seven points including a deep 3-point bucket to open the final period. Puahi finished the contest with nine points, while teammate Bautista finished with eight points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.

East Union will look to open the season 2-0 when they play host to the Modesto Panthers Dec. 7 at the Dalben Center.

Bear Creek 44, East Union 32
The Lancers were able to cut a healthy Bear Creek   lead to 10, but East Union would come no closer in a 12-point season opening loss.

The Lancers trailed 22-13 at the half, but were outscored by three in the second half. Kristen Piasecki led the squad with 10 points, while  teammates Alison Telles (eight points) and Klasey Kachalkin (seven points) rounded out the leading Lancer scorers.

McNair 50, Weston Ranch 46
The Cougars came up just short in their season opener, dropping their first action by four points to the Eagles.

Leonard Lockett led the Cougars with 14 points, while teammates Sean Bisperas and Albert Luyon closed the contest with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
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