The cards were stacked against the East Union High varsity boys basketball team Friday night.
They had to go into a hostile environment and take on a host team – the Vacaville Bulldogs – that lost to one of Northern California’s best teams by only six points.
But by the time the teams huddled at the half, head coach Bret Lewis thought the game was already in hand – staring at a 17-point lead that seemed both comfortable and easy to maintain.
The Bulldogs ended up roaring back in the third quarter to cut the Lancer lead to only three points and forced the game down to the wire. East Union ended up with a 57-54 victory – their fourth of the season – that will send them to the championship round of the tournament today.
“It was both the worst and the best game we could have played,” Lewis said. “We ended up with a 20-point lead at one point and then we started making early season mistakes – turning the ball over and allowing them to get right back into the game.
“It was already a hostile environment, and those mistakes almost nipped us in the bud.”
Jordan Kron led all East Union scorers with 16 points – 10 of which came in the first quarter. He hit a pair of 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to help the Lancers pull ahead at the wire. Justin Nieto finished with 13 points while Jake Danhoff chipped in with 12.
East Union will now face Davis High School of Davis in the championship game of the Vacaville Tournament today at 4:30 p.m. The Blue Devils have scored 100 points or more in four of the six games that they’ve played this season, and will come into the game with a 5-1 record.
Manteca 62, Livingston 59
It all came down to one shot.
With the score tied and only 20 seconds left on the clock, Miguel Lopez buried a 3-point shot to give Manteca High the edge that it needed to pull out a 62-59 victory over Livingston in the Atwater/Buhach Tournament Friday night.
The strong finish – leading scorer Mike Hatfield, who pulled out a pair of 3-point plays in overtime en route to a 22-point performance – was something that head coach Dave Asuncion said he enjoyed seeing, even if he thought his team shouldn’t have been in that position.
“You always like to get that experience early in the season,” Asuncion said. “That’s what we look towards – testing ourselves like that. But we put ourselves in situations we shouldn’t have.
“Even though the game shouldn’t have been that close, to pull it out like that was definitely a positive.”
Manteca (3-2) will play the winner of the Mariposa/Big Valley Christian game today at 2:30 for the consolation championship.
Ripon Christian 85, Elliott Christian 59
Tempo wasn’t a problem for Ripon Christian on Friday.
Right out of the gate the Knights opened up with a 21 point first quarter – 13 of which came from sharp-shooting guard Jon Vander Molen – and kept right on going in their matchup with Lodi’s Jim Elliott Christian in the Galt Tournament.
The 85-59 victory was Ripon Christian’s third of the year.
“It was a team that we expected to beat, but to do so convincingly was a good sign,” said Ripon Christian head coach Ron Vander Molen. “We got off to a good start and it continued.”
Vander Molen finished the game with 20 points. Dalton Koslosky finished with 16 points – going 7-for-8 from the field – and pulled in seven rebounds.
Ripon Christian (3-2) will play in the tournament’s consolation championship today at 3 p.m. when they take on the Stagg Delta Kings at Galt High School.
Ripon 57, Antioch 38
Ripon were perfect for the first half Friday night.
They didn’t hit every shot or pull down every rebound, but the Indians – coming off a tough loss to Castro Valley the night before – managed to work through the entire first half without picking up a single foul.
By the end of the game they only tallied three in their 57-38 hammering of Division 1 Antioch in the Granada Tournament in Livermore.
While playing a relatively quick, clean game wouldn’t seem like much of a feat to some, Ripon head coach Rod Wright chocks it up as a big win considering that Ripon turned the ball over less than 10 times against Antioch – compared to 42 the night before.
“I can remember three, and if that’s all I can remember that’s a very good thing,” Wright said of the turnover ratio. “After what happened last night we looked at like it was a situation where all we could do is go up.
“Coming into this game we were 1-for-21 from the 3-point line, and we hit five of them tonight. It was like the basketball gods came out and said, ‘Okay – you can score now.’ We needed a game like this to get our confidence back a bit.”
The win was Ripon’s first of the season.
Both Cole Herrin and Derek Hickman finished with 15 points. Kyle Wengel contributed 10.
The Indians will play the winner of the Arroyo/Kimball matchup today at 5 p.m. at Granada High School in Livermore.