East Union avenged its lone Valley Oak League loss and did so convincingly Thursday in front of a lively winter homecoming crowd at Dalben Center, cruising past two-time defending co-champion Kimball, 68-43.
The Lancers (8-1 VOL, 21-4 overall) have won six straight since their 65-49 road defeat to the Jaguars (8-1, 20-5) on Jan. 9.
“You respect what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “We’re just trying to get to that level and tonight we took a big step.”
They did it with high energy on both ends of the court, but it was the defense that set the tone. Kyshanti King played a big part in transition, leading all players with 20 points while harassing Kimball ball handlers with her active hands. Lani Tu’uga added 14 points, and Taylor Snaer had 12.
Center Ala Tu’uga and guard Lauren Pablo chipped in eight points, but their focus was shutting down the paint area. Pablo limited Dariana Willis, Kimball’s top playmaker, to seven points and no field goals in the second half. Isabelle Lacap was the Jaguars’ lone double-digit scorer with 12 points.
“Just being in our home gym gave us a lot of energy,” Pablo said. “We just had to go into this game upbeat and come out hard, and we did.”
East Union started on a 7-0 run and didn’t let up from there, stretching the lead out to 19-6 by the end of the opening quarter. Ahead 36-21 at halftime, the Lancers slowed the pace offensively but continued to clamp down defensively, outscoring Kimball, 11-7 in the third.
“That was one of our best defensive efforts of the year,” Agostini said. “Last time, they were attacking the rim with no resistance. Tonight, I thought our team did a great job of protecting the rim and controlling the boards. This team is just playing their guts out right now.”
East Union put away its statement win of the season in style, going on a 14-4 flurry in the fourth quarter. Snaer’s 3-pointer from the left wing gave the Lancers their largest lead at 66-40.
“We had more energy and more confidence than we did last time,” Ala Tu’uga said. “We just had to work harder.”