By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
East Union survives Sonoras second-half comeback
East Union’s Krystal Young knocks down a perimeter jumper during the Lancers’ 47-42 win voer Sonora High Thursday.
Trailing by double digits going into halftime provided the Sonora Wildcats with all the motivation  they would need, mounting a ferocious comeback only to fall to the host East Union Lancers 47-42  in Valley Oak League girls basketball play Thursday.

Sonora’s Kelli Keefe led the comeback with a huge 3-pointer in the game’s final 90 seconds, pulling the Wildcats to within a basket after trailing by as many as 15 in the second half. The Wildcats outscored East Union 20-7 in the pivotal third quarter.

East Union senior Krystal Young put the final touches on the Lancers’ 31st consecutive win in the Dalben Center, sinking a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game.

“Those free throws were huge,” East Union head coach Jim Agostini said. “Krystal is our best free throw shooter on the team; she’s shooting about 70 percent from the line. You would think by watching tonight that we don’t shoot too many free throws, but we shoot a lot of free throws. Two free throws during crunch time with a returning senior is huge.

“Experience plays a part down the stretch in these pressure-packed VOL games.”

From the opening minutes, the game didn’t seem like it would come down to a pair of clutch free throws with the Lancers getting things underway with their customary trapping defense. Sonora was only able to score three first-quarter baskets, with the final coming on a layup by Ashley Pittman with 46 seconds to go.

The Lancers wouldn’t let up, keeping Sonora off the scoreboard entirely for the first four minutes and 45 seconds of the second. Even with a pseudo comfortable 24-13 halftime lead, East Union (9-1 VOL, 17-4) knew the Wildcats would continue to claw.

“We were absolutely expecting things to get close in that second half,” Agostini said. “These teams in the VOL are competitive teams, and Sonora is just as tough and competitive as anybody in this league.

“They were considered to be a serious contender for this league’s title, so you just expect a good team to come out and compete like that.”

East Union got solid play down the stretch from leaders Shalane Jackson, Lexy Posz and Young, while a group of unsung heroes also found its way into important roles. Junior Morgan Hulsebosch, junior Briona Fontenot and senior Devan Heupel all made significant contributions, with Fontenot leading the crew by finishing in double-figures with 10 points.

“Devan has been playing well for us for the past three or four games,” Agostini said. “She has missed some time during the holidays, but she’s just starting to get in the flow as a senior. She played a key role in doing the little things in trying to keep those big Sonora girls off of the boards.”

Fontenot came out assertive, scoring four of East Union’s first quarter points and hitting a late fourth-quarter 3-pointer, pushing the Lancers up by five. Posz finished with 10, while Jackson contributed a dozen. Salina Tiscareno led the Lancers with six assists.

Sonora’s (6-4, 11-10) Keefe led all scorers with 17 points, joining forces with post presence Brittany Malone to help Sonora outscore East Union 29-23 over the final two periods.

“We felt like we would get back in it,” Keefe said after the loss. “I felt we should have taken that game. We missed a lot of easy buckets and didn’t block out as well as we should have.

“We needed to beat the back in transition, but it didn’t work out in our favor.”

The Lancers will try and push their home winning streak to 32 games in their next home game against Oakdale, but first they will have to make the trip crosstown to take on the Sierra Timberwolves Monday.