Jim Agostini wanted to see how his East Union girls basketball team’s conditioning and depth would hold up on the fourth and final day of the Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament Friday at Tracy High.
He was pleased with the overall outcome, as the Lancers overcame foul trouble and a spirited second-half rally from Napa to prevail 59-52 and place third in the 16-team event.
“Anytime you play in four-game tournaments it can be tough,” Agostini said. “We got a chance as a coaching staff to see how our conditioning is coming along. To go 3-1 in the Tracy tournament for a second year in a row is something the girls can feel good about. We had a lot of girls gain valuable experience this week, which was another thing we were looking for.”
All-tournament selection Shalane Jackson finished with eight points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Tiare Tu’uga poured in 22 points and nine rebounds, and Kristen Piasecki contributed 14 points and five assists.
Both Jackson and Tu’uga watched most of the third quarter after picking up their fourth and third fouls, respectively. That allowed Napa (6-8) — which trailed 29-17 at halftime — to make its move. The Indians outscored East Union (9-2) 22-13 in the third as its offense found its groove after struggling to produce against a zone defense.
Napa tied it at 44 with 4 minutes to go but never took the lead.
“The reserves played really well, especially in the second half,” Agostini said. “In the third quarter we had to go deep into our bench.”
Free-throw shooting saved East Union in crunch time. Tu’uga accounted for five of the Lancers’ final six points down the stretch — all from the foul line. As a team they buried nine of 11 in the fourth and 11 of 16 overall.
East Union opens the Valley Oak League season at Lathrop next Wednesday.
Manteca 51, Foothill 48
Last year’s runner-up had to grind out a win Friday with its two top players slowed by foul trouble. Mikayla Hasal mustered 13 points, while Karleasha Thompson had 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5 minutes remaining.
Sierra Kirk poured in 15 points, mostly from the post, for the Cougars (7-6) of Palo Cedro. Manteca (11-1) struggled to match their physical play in the paint, and free-throw shooting allowed Foothill — which made 13 of 16 from the foul line to Manteca’s 12-of-24 effort — to remain in striking distance throughout.
Despite it all, the Buffaloes (11-1) never trailed.
“We’re happy to be 3-1 in the tournament but that was not the game we wanted to be in,” Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt said.
A heartbreaking 58-56 loss to Tokay in the opener was what sent the Buffaloes (11-1) to the consolation bracket. Tokay lost to Brookside Christian in the title round.
The defending VOL champion will be tested right away in the conference season with road games at Kimball and Weston Ranch.
Lathrop 46, Enochs 40
With Janet Visaya rounding back into game shape, the Spartans (3-7) appear to be turning things around at the right time. The sharpshooting junior guard sank all six of her free throws in the fourth quarter to help Lathrop stave off Enochs (3-9) and earn its second win in as many nights.
Visaya — who missed Lathrop’s first six games with a leg injury — finished with 11 points to lead the way. Sophomore Loreal Taylor added eight points and eight rebounds. Reserve post player Philicia Willingham provided a spark defensively in the second quarter.
“We’re starting to come around,” said Lathrop coach Ed Fang. “We were able to run our offense and get the shots we wanted in the second half.”