In a game that at times came off more like football than basketball, East Union came out on top 52-44 over visiting Sierra in Valley Oak League action at Dalben Center.
“You know that any crosstown game is going to be a battle,” Lancers coach Charles Legan said. “We knew it was going to be a whole 32-minute game. Sierra hung in there, they played physical and they played tough. It is what you expect out of a VOL game.
“The last couple of minutes our press kind of wore them down a little bit. We had our run, they had their run, and we made the last run.”
Coming into the fourth quarter, East Union (2-1 VOL, 14-4 overall) led 34-31 after six lead changes and four ties with the biggest lead having been six points. The Timberwolves (1-3, 7-9) battled back behind a pair of buckets and an assist from Arvin Chohan (game-high 22 points, seven rebounds) to come within 41-40 with 2:50 left in the fourth period.
The Lancers responded with an 11-4 run to end the game capped off with a full-court inbounds pass from Luke Weaver to a streaking but well-covered Dylan Lee (18 points, three steals) for a layup and the final points of the night.
“It was very physical,” Lee said. “I knew it was going to happen, I knew they were going to be all over me and that I was going to have to deal with it. But if they were all over me, then my teammates were going to be open so I could get the ball to them and use me as a decoy.”
Weaver pulled down 12 rebounds while making three blocks and three steals.
“Luke is the heart and soul of the defense,” Legan said. “He is our big man in the middle, the quarterback of the basketball team. He puts everyone in their right spots and is the anchor of the defense.
“There is nothing but fight in him. Every time the ball goes up he wants to get it. And it seems like he is always in the right spot.”
Anthony Sy had two buckets and an assist in that final East Union run, one of those baskets coming off of a steal and then going coast to coast.
“The Sierra guy was trapped in the corner,” Sy said of that last steal. “He was looking for an open man and I read his eyes and I took the steal and went all the way.
“It was great to get the W.”
Sy finished with 13 points, six steals and three blocks with four steals coming in the second quarter.
“Sy’s effort and his knack to go get the ball is unbelievable,” Legan said, “Besides his steals he is always getting deflections. He causes havoc on the other teams.”
Bryan Howe added 16 points for the Lancers behind four 3-pointers along with four rebounds.
Robanjit Singh, Semaj Moore and Diego Montes (six points) all grabbed six rebounds apiece for the Timberwolves.
“We were trying to grind and grind,” Sierra coach Eddie Morales said. “But we had some defensive errors. We let some guys get in the lane down the stretch and make some shots and some layups.
“We knew what they were trying to do. We would know what play was coming and No. 0 (Howe) would get by us. That was our fault. It seems like it was more us than what they did.”
On Monday at 7:30 p.m., the Timberwolves host Central Catholic and the Lancers host Tracy.
Sierra 42, East Union 41
Taylor Rowe hit a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining in the game to give the Timberwolves the one-point win.
Rowe, Collins Schluer and Trevor Sutton led a balanced Sierra attack with eight points apiece.
The Lancers’ Blake Mount led all scorers with 16 points and Jackson Pellizzari chipped in 11 points.