Credit East Union High’s second-half defense for the 49-32 Valley Oak League win over visiting Sierra on Friday.
“We talked about changing the pace of the game at halftime,” said Lancers coach Jim Agostini as his team clung on to a four-point lead over the crosstown rivals.
East Union (1-1 VOL, 11-3) responded with a 26-1 run behind inside scoring of sophomore center Donja Payne, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
She also chipped in 11 rebounds, six blocks and three steals.
“Donja is a tough match-up,” Agostini said. “With her, we have one big post players in the area.
Down 5-0 early on, the Lancers went on an 18-2 run highlighted by Ruby Daube’s buzzer-beating 25-foot 3 from straight away.
She had seven of her 14 points in the opening quarter. Daube also had eight assists to go with her five boards.
The Timberwolves (0-2 VOL, 2-12) bounced back in the second with Alison Edwards leading the way. She netted a 3, following that up with a twisting inside jumper to close out the half.
At that point, Sierra had trimmed East Union’s 13-point cushion, 22-18.
The Timberwolves nearly completed the comeback, pulling to within a point early in the third.
“I think we got caught in the pace of the game rather than just playing fundamental basketball,” said Sierra coach Martha Spivey, who was led by Edwards’ 12 points, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Jaida Franklin came through with seven points and three steals.
Leading the Timberwolves, 22-21, the Lancers reeled off 13 unanswered points, with Daube and Hailey Gosney feeding the ball down low to Payne, who had nine points in that run.
Agostini summed up his team’s second-half effort. “Our defense that helped create our offense,” he said.
East Union 52, Sierra 37
Nina Murphy racked up 20 points, while Leilani Menor added 15 as the Lancers rolled to victory. Julia Vezaldenos chipped in with eight points.