Sierra scored 12 of its final 16 points from the free-throw line and went on a 12-4 run late in the fourth quarter to pull away from host East Union for a 60-55 Valley Oak League boys basketball win at Dalben Center.
“We got outplayed in the last two minutes,” Lancers coach James Ward said. “They hit their shots and we didn’t.
“We won the first half and they won the second half.”
East Union (4-4 VOL, 13-11 overall) came out on fire, scoring four 3-pointers on the way to a 14-2 lead. The Timberwolves (4-4, 13-9) fought back to come within 25-24 at halftime.
“The first quarter they made four 3’s and the fourth quarter they made four 3s,” Sierra coach Eddie Morales said. “But in between they only made two, so if we can keep them off that 3-point line we can control the game.
“I think Coach Ward does a good job with those guys. They had some good counters for our pressure this time. We gave them some open looks we didn’t want to give them and they knocked them down. That kept them in the game.”
The third quarter saw five lead changes and a tie with the final period starting the same way with two lead changes and a tie before the Timberwolves went on their 12-4 run.
Sierra’s Zach Curry (17 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals) made a pair of steals within 30 seconds of each other down the stretch to help keep the Lancers from closing the gap.
“Our game plan was to deny their shooters,” Curry said, referencing Parm Khattra and Christian Cuevas. “We had to get a hand in their face and make sure not to go by them and body up.”
Teammate Kendrick Currey led all scorers with 18 points along with five rebounds and three assists.
“They started coming back toward the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth,” Currey said. “We just had to relax, play our game, play defense and calm down and we knew we could come out with the victory.”
Khattra (six rebounds, two steals) and Cuevas (three assists, two rebounds) led East Union with 15 points apiece. Lydell King added nine points.
Both teams take to the road Friday night with the Lancers going to Kimball at 7:15 and the Timberwolves traveling to first-place Central Catholic at 7.
East Union 59, Sierra 43
The Lancers got three in double figures with Lance Cefalu scoring 12 points, Gavin Silva 11 and Alex Cuevas 10.
The Timberwolves’ Jason Aucellop led all scorers with 15 points and Noah Ramil added 10.
Sierra 47, East Union 42
Jacob Barasi scored 16 points for the Timberwolves and Matt Garcia added 14.
Adrian Telles paced the Lancers with 10 points. Jay Severson and Ashton Heath added eight points apiece.