The last time East Union and Oakdale got together, the Lancers’ head coach Jim Agostini referred to it as one of the hardest losses the program has experienced.
On Thursday, East Union came back with a vengeance against the Mustangs (2-6 Valley Oak League, 11-10 overall), who couldn’t compete in the second half, resulting in a 53-34 defeat.
The last time the Lancers (4-4, 14-7) visited Oakdale, the Mustangs knocked down game-tying 3s at the end of regulation and the first overtime and then finished it in double OT with a shot at the buzzer.
It wasn’t close this time around.
“The first time we played we shot the ball a lot better than we did tonight,” Oakdale head coach Justin Schwitters said. “In the first half, I don’t think we made a jump shot and we missed some layups. In the second half, they played well and obviously shot -- and made -- a lot of free throws.”
Lancer sophomore Olivia Vezaldenos and freshman Loretta Kakala could have theoretically defeated Oakdale by themselves, as they outscored their opponents 35-34.
East Union went 14 of 25 from the line, but the team’s floor general, Vezaldenos, went 10 of 12 and finished with 16 points to go with five assists and three steals.
She scored 12 of her total in the second half, including 10 in the fourth. The athletic forward Kakala hauled in 10 boards to go with her game-high 19, which included nine field goals, a block and a steal.
“Loretta is a strong young lady who has some really good basketball skills,” Agostini said.
“(And) Olivia is the quarterback, and she was making passes and scoring when the opportunity was there. The girls that (were) guarding her (were) picking up fouls.”
Vezaldenos got to the line consistently, just as she was steady in frustrating Oakdale’s defenders. The Mustangs’ point guard, Christina Cobarruvias, and their best on-ball defender Alyssa Freeman (six points), both picked up three fouls early in the first half. Both players ended up fouling out in the fourth quarter, and Freeman’s final foul was a technical.
Oakdale’s technical put Vezaldenos on the line three times in 11 seconds, where she converted 4 of 6 and helped stretch her squad’s lead to 48-26 late.
After the Lancers led 14-6 after the opening quarter, they outscored Oakdale 8-5 in the second and took a 22-11 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, after Oakdale cut its deficit to eight, East Union went on a 9-0 run which included a 3-ball from Ruby Dauby (five points, three steals, one block). EU stretched its lead to 17 and went into the fourth ahead 37-24.
East Union opened the final eight-minute stretch with an 11-2 run and pushed its lead to 22 with all 11 being scored by Vezaldenos and Kakala.
“The girls were fired up,” Agostini concluded. “They were excited to have the opportunity to avenge the loss (at Oakdale). It was a tough loss, but we’re trying to improve each and every day.”
The Lancers have won four straight, including three consecutive in the VOL after beginning 1-3. East Union’s next scheduled contest is at first-place Kimball (7-1, 18-3) on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
Anna Wood, the Lancers’ other post presence, chipped in six points to go with six boards. Rachel Sianez (four points, two rebounds) and Madison Hoffman (two points, two steals) contributed for EU as well.
Oakdale’s Micaela Maaske finished with a team-high 10 points and 12 rebounds before exiting in the middle of the third quarter with a bruised knee.
East Union 54, Oakdale 29
Marcella Salyer and Jessica Bautista each finished with 10 points, but Jordyn Posz led the Lancers (4-4, 14-5) with 11. Jenna Zuniga pitched in with eight.
Oakdale 25, East Union 17
The Mustangs led 15-7 at the half and held on after a 10-10 second half. Alaina Haena led the Lancers with six points, and Sophie Williams and Vanessa Cuellar each added four.