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East Union finishes off Lathrop with 18-4 run
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Lathrops Joseph Sausau looks for the outlet pass Tuesday during Lathrops Valley Oak League loss to East Union.

LATHROP — One team flourished in the second half, and the other was finished.

East Union outscored Lathrop High 18-4 on its way to a 48-33 Valley Oak League victory.

“I don’t know what it is,” Lathrop head coach Bill Slikker said. “The perplexing thing for me is we probably had our best practice of the year yesterday. I thought we had the zone figured out and then we stop being aggressive. Unfortunately, were 21 games into the year and we’re still searching for a leader.

“Some of our seniors need to step up, period.”

The Lancers had no such difficulty, getting a huge second-half performance from senior Brock Swift. Swift joined junior Justin Nieto in igniting the Lancer offense in the fourth, combining for the fourth quarters’ first 10 points and putting the Lancers up by 13.

Swift hit back-to-back jumpers before finding a streaking Nieto for a layup. Swift would follow the assist with a steal, leading up to a Nieto layup and a timely bucket from sophomore call-up Robbie Gleockler. The offensive explosion coupled with an intensified defensive effort proved to challenging for Lathrop to overcome.

“That’s what is keeping us in a lot of game,” East Union head coach Brett Lewis said. “We’re in most games we’re playing and it’s because our defense is always there for us.

“I keep telling the guys that if we execute a little bit on offense, defense is going to help us win games.”

Swift was scoreless in the first half. But scored all of his eight points in the game’s final nine minutes. Nieto led the Lancers with 16, while senior Alex Del Real also finished in double figures with 10. Marcus Conley led Lathrop with 16.

“I remember in practice coach telling me that my shot is midrange and he tells me that ‘3s ain’t me,” Swift said. “So when I shot the first one I just shot it with confidence. My teammates helped me out, getting me open with good screens. Even making an open jumper is a total team effort.”