East Union was already down a starter who was out with an illness.
Two more were lost with five fouls apiece early in the third quarter of Tuesday’s pivotal Valley Oak League contest with visiting Sonora.
The Lancers still managed to gut out a 62-58 victory that catapults them back into the hunt for one of three Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.
“We’re in the mix still,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “We needed to get this one tonight and the girls did a great job.”
Loretta Kakala led East Union (3-4 VOL, 13-7 overall) with 16 points and nine rebounds in just 18 minutes of action. She was one of the two players to foul out in the third quarter.
The young guard tandem of Olivia Vezaldenos and Ruby Dauby also had to battle through foul trouble. They each had two fouls within the first two minutes of the game. Vezaldenos finished with 12 points, while Dauby had 11. Anna Wood contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Sonora standout Bailey Henington led all scorers with 21 points.
The Wildcats (4-3, 9-6), who remain alone in third place, took advantage of East Union’s early foul trouble and led 17-8 going into the second quarter.
“We took care of the ball better in the second half,” said Agostini, noting that EU had eight turnovers in the second half after committing 12 in the first. “The girls just handled their press better.
“It was one of those wild games”, Agostini added. “The girls weathered the storm and took control of the game.”
The Lancers led by 10 points at one point in the second half, but Sonora threatened late by sinking two straight 3-pointers that shrank the deficit to two. East Union won it at the free-throw line, making 8 of 9 in the fourth quarter and 19 of 25 overall. Sonora converted just 12 of its 31 attempts.
Agostoni lauded the play of reserves Marina Salyer, Madison Hoffman and Nayeli Del Real, as they solidified the decimated frontline.
Lathrop 44, Sierra 35
In Lathrop, the host Spartans (2-5, 6-13) picked up their second win in three games behind Loreal Taylor’s 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Lauren Collins added 10 points for Lathrop, which used a 20-6 fourth-quarter run to race away with it. The Spartans took advantage at the free-throw line, hitting 21 of 39 attempts.
Allie Walljasper pumped in 12 points for Sierra (2-5, 10-10) before fouling out.
“It was a total team victory,” Lathrop coach Ed Fang said. “All 11 players came in and contributed. I’m very proud of the way our bench played tonight. They came in and did a heck of a job for us.”
Manteca 52, Oakdale 39
The Buffaloes (3-4, 6-14) remain in the thick of things with Tuesday’s big win. Manteca led by eight at halftime and opened the third quarter with a backbreaking 9-0 rally.
Jessica Hasal had her way with Oakdale (2-5, 11-9) and scored a game-high 19 points. Allison Rachel and Lizzie Tolbert turned in nine and eight points, apiece. Christina Cobarruvias and Madison Hackbarth each poured in 11 for the Mustangs.
Ripon 40, Escalon 37
The Indians (3-4, 7-12) completed an important season sweep of Escalon (2-5, 7-13) in the race for the third playoff spot in the TVL. They were down by eight at halftime before dominating the final two periods.
Kelsey Alexander nailed three treys and finished with 15 points. Morgan Carrico registered 11 points.
Sierra 65, Lathrop 50
The Timberwolves (4-3 VOL, 14-7 overall) rode the outstanding individual efforts of Devi Coglio, who amassed 31 points and 11 steals.
Sonora 51, East Union 42
Marcella Salyer poured in 19 points for the Squires (3-4, 13-5), but dropped their third straight VOL contest.
Lathrop 50, Sierra 23
Gurveen Bal and Danya Phillips spearheaded the Spartans with 15 points apiece. Phillips also pulled down 12 rebounds.
Sheila Mertiline added seven points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Molly Moakler contributed seven rebounds to go with six points.