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Bullard too much for East Union
East Union’s Terrance Williams gets his shot off over Bullard defender Ronald Williams. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
MODESTO — In a lot of ways, East Union aspires to be much like the team it squared off with in the first round of the Modesto City Classic Wednesday.

Like EU, Bullard of Fresno lacks size but makes up for it with speed, pressure defense, guard depth, sharp passing and deadly perimeter shooting.

The difference is that Bullard is faster, deeper and outright better than the Lancers. That was proven in the 83-33 whooping East Union took.

The Knights (1-0) forced 30 turnovers and drilled 15 3-pointers while dominating other statistical categories such as rebounds (28-17), assists (25-9) and steals (19-6).

East Union (0-1) is still without sophomore standout guard Jordan Kron (ankle), who won’t be available to make his season debut until the middle of next week. But the brutal truth is that Kron himself wouldn’t have been able to make up the 50-point difference.

“That’s exactly the team we want to be. We want to be that quick and that efficient, but right now we have a long ways to go,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said. “Not having Jordan hurt us, but we still have a lot of inexperience at this (varsity) level.”

Bullard boasts enough depth to give all 16 of its players ample playing time, using a hockey-style substitution tactic in which five players hop off the bench to replace the five on the floor.

Eleven Knights scored led by guard Jajuan Hammond’s 17 points, six steals and four assists. Forward Carl Goodman added 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

East Union was overwhelmed and discouraged early, finding itself down 15-0 at the midway point of the first quarter. The Lancers didn’t post their first points until Robert Vaughn sank two free throws with 3:50 remaining, and their first field goal was a 3-pointer converted by Brandon Cline. Cline ended up hitting three treys for a team-high nine points.

The deficit continued to swell as Bullard sent waves of players at the outgunned Lancers. Bullard amassed 30 points in the second quarter alone to stake a 54-23 halftime lead.

East Union was held to just four points in the third and went into the fourth down 71-27.

While the Lancers would be hard pressed to beat Bullard without their leading scorer, their coach was displeased with the lack of fight after absorbing the early barrage.

“I’m disappointed in the way they slapped us in the face and we walked away from it,” Lewis said. “They kept swinging and we kept backing up, and they did not let up until it was a 40-point lead.”

Lewis hopes for better results today when EU takes on Escalon. With half of its players preparing to compete in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV football playoffs championship game, undermanned Escalon battled valiantly Wednesday but succumbed to Downey, 64-54.