Gyse Hulsebosch hit a pair of free throws to tie the game with 2:13 remaining, and then with 1:11 showing on the Dalben Center clock he drained an uncontested 3-pointer to give East Union the lead for good in a thrilling 55-47 Valley Oak League win over crosstown rival Sierra on Friday.
“This feels great,” Lancers coach Ryan Tarr said. “We had a lot of turnovers in that fourth quarter and I told them that if we take care of the ball we were going to win.
“We hit some shots – Gyse hit a huge 3-pointer. Eric Flores did a great job of guarding Daniel Wyatt all night. We rebounded well. It was a great team effort.”
Friday night marked a reversal of fortune for both teams. This win snapped East Union’s 28-game losing streak in league and an 11-game skid against Sierra. The loss was the third loss in a row for the Timberwolves, who had only lost three league games in the previous four seasons.
“You have to give East Union a lot of credit,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “We are one of the worst teams in our area, one of the worst teams in our league, and one of the worst teams we have ever had at Sierra.”
Trailing 30-28 after a basket by Jess Spivey (10 points, eight rebounds, three assists) midway through the third quarter, East Union (1-3 VOL, 8-7 overall) forced seven turnovers and went on a 10-0 run with Hulsebosch getting seven of those points.
That lead held until the Timberwolves (1-3, 10-6) went ahead 47-45 on a pair of Spivey free throws with 2:16 left in the game.
“That (10-0 run) was big,” Tarr said. “Because I knew they were going to come back and they were not going to back down. They tied it up but we had what it took to get it done tonight.”
Wyatt had 26 points and seven steals. Hulsebosch led all scorers with 29 points, including three 3-pointers and a pair of three-point plays.
“We just did what we had to do,” Hulsebosch said. “We came out there and played hard. Everybody did what they were supposed to and we won.”
Malik Thomas (eight points) helped ignite the explosive third quarter for the Lancers when he launched a towering 3-pointer from the corner to break a tie for the first points of the second half.
“That was a great team effort,” Thomas said. “The boys came through tonight.
“We played hard and got the ‘W.’ That’s what we were looking for.”
After just two turnovers in the first half, Sierra committed 12 in the second half.
“We are sloppy,” Thomason said. “We don’t run our stuff. We don’t set screens. We are doing things we are not coached to do.
“We had specific things we wanted to do in the beginning of this game and we went away from that. We are not coachable. We have guys that have their own agendas.”
The majority of those Sierra turnovers were unforced as the Lancers had just five steals.
“We are a very soft team,” Thomason said. “We are not smart. We don’t take care of the ball, we turn it over and we can’t make an outside shot.
“When you are soft and not very smart things like this are going to happen. We have a lot of soul searching to do. We have to go back and change some things.”