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Lancers propelled by complementary players

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East Union junior Briona Fontenot, celebrating her 16th birthday on Friday, defends Ripon guard Paulina Ceja in a non-league contest at Dalben Center.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED December 19, 2009 3:08 a.m.

How did East Union reserve guard Briona Fontenot celebrate her 16th birthday on Friday?

By scoring a varsity career-high 16 points, of course.

Fontenot and senior Krystal Young, who also netted 16 points, turned in breakout performances in the Lancers’ 53-34 victory over Ripon at Dalben Center.

They each contributed to the game’s biggest runs — a 13-0 onslaught that stretched the Lancers’ lead to 37-23 going into the fourth, and a 10-2 flurry to end the game.

Junior guard Lexy Posz and sophomore forward Shalane Jackson are the leading Lancers this season, but head coach Jim Agostini was waiting for one of his seniors to step up and provide some guidance along with complementary scoring threat to emerge.

He got both Friday. After East Union (4-1) suffered its first loss Wednesday, 47-35 to Armijo in Fairfield, some of Agostini’s questions were been answered.

“It’s been a tough start to (Young’s) senior year, but being a senior she understands what her role is,” Agostini said. “She spoke to her teammates in practice (Thursday), and it was nice to see her show some senior leadership. It was a nice breakout performance for both she and Briona.

“We’ve been waiting for that from them, because we know they’re capable of it.”

Things looked bleak at the start with Posz struggling to find her stroke in the first half and Jackson sitting on the bench with three fouls midway through the opening quarter.

Young provided EU some offensive punch early and topped Ripon’s six points in the first, accounting for seven of her team’s nine points.

Posz eventually broke out of her scoring slump and scored eight of her 14 points in the second half. She found other ways to contribute despite struggling from the field, finishing with 10 steals, six rebounds and five assists.

Young was also scrappy on the defensive end, coming up with six steals. East Union offset Ripon’s considerable height advantage by forcing 26 turnovers.

The Lancers were outrebounded 42-29, and Ripon (2-3) has no player shorter than 5 feet, 9 inches in its starting lineup.

“We’re shorter than every team we play, so we have to work that much harder,” Young said.

The birthday girl did her damage in the second.

Fontenot rattled in seven straight points for EU to start the quarter and finished with 10 during the 8-minute stretch. Her banked-in shot from the right wing gave the Lancers their largest first-half lead at 22-14 with 3:18 to go.

Fontenot will miss East Union’s final six non-conference contests to go on vacation with her family, so she wanted to make up for the future absences.

“I just wanted our team to win,” Fontenot said. “I played my hardest and gave it all I had.”

Kendra Contente recorded nine points, eight rebounds and three steals to lead Ripon. Sereena Hertel added nine points, and 6-foot center Lauren Feddersen pulled down 10 boards to go with four points.

Ripon struggled to penetrate East Union’s various zone defenses, and when shots were there for the taking few fell through the hoop. Making matters worse, the Indians made just one of 13 free-throw attempts.

“We just didn’t convert on offense,” Ripon coach George Contente said. “Sometimes we put the ball right into the defense’s hands, but for the most part I thought we moved the ball around pretty well.

“We had some good looks from the baseline, from the wing and from the elbow, but we have to make them.”

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