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East Union surges past Los Banos, into D-III semifinals & NorCal berth
Los Banos-East Union girls basketball
East Union's Andie Carnigal-Holmes (25) muscles up a shot in front of Emely Guzman (30) of Los Banos. - photo by Wayne Thallander

What a difference a half can make.

Clinging to a one-point lead after a rather pedestrian first half that saw eight lead changes on Monday, host East Union rode the hot hand of Andie Carnigal-Holmes, doubling its score in the third quarter and running away with a 69-50 victory over sixth-seeded Los Banos in quarterfinal action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls basketball playoffs at Dalben Center.

The win lands the Lancers in the NorCal playoffs and East Union will now play in the section semifinals in Lincoln against Lincoln High on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The No. 3 Lancers (23-3) outscored the Wildcats (23-6) 25-12 in the third period, and Carnigal-Holmes scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half, getting six points on put-backs.

“We started sharing the ball more in the second half,” Carnigal-Holmes said. “I really focused on finishing well, using the backboard and getting those rebounds.”

Taylor Snaer helped keep East Union in the game in the first half with five of her six steals and eight of her game-high 24 points in the first quarter. She also had six rebounds.

 “In the first half, we didn’t play our game and in the second half we did,” Snaer said. “At halftime, we told ourselves that we needed to get this together and we did.

“This year, I have been better all-around with my defense, but I knew with this team we would have to play better defense.”

Lani Tu’uga dished out eight assists with eight points and five rebounds for the Lancers.

“Whenever I saw an opening I would just toss it,” Tu’uga said. “There were times when I was thinking of tossing it to the corner but when a player would come out on me I would just toss it to Andie (Carigal-Holmes) underneath.

“We were kind of slow in the first half and we picked it up in the second.”

East Union’s Ala Tu’uga put up a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds, and Lauren Pablo added nine points.

Lancers coach Jim Agostini had a heart-to-heart talk with his players at halftime.

“We really gave the girls a little wake-up at halftime,” Agostini said. “The girls responded tremendously by playing with poise and trying to stretch out their zone and showing a little more patience.

“I pulled three girls aside at halftime and told them that I thought we were a little bit quick jumping and rushing our shots at the rim. In the second half we got a lot of punch down low. That’s very deflating to teams when you are spreading the ball around, and then go down low and get scoring. It’s tiring for your opponent and we did a good job with the entry passes. Those are not easy passes to make.”

America Ordonez led Los Banos with 22 points and Anissa Sanchez added 14.