The top of the Valley Oak League standings just got interesting.
The reason for that occurred Wednesday as the East Union High girls’ basketball squad pulled out a 56-54 upset victory over first-place Kimball at the Dalben Center.
"We played aggressively for three and a half quarters," said Lancers coach Jim Agostini.
This was the first VOL loss for the Jaguars (8-1, 20-4 overall), not to mention East Union's first win over the reigning co-champions in three years. The Lancers (7-2, 16-8) remain a game back of the VOL's top spot. Manteca (7-1, 16-7), idle on Wednesday, is alone in second place and trails by a half game.
"We've played six or seven quality teams this year and lost every one of them," said Agostini, who was more than relieved to see that trend come to a halt.
East Union led by as much as 18 points in third quarter and opened the fourth ahead, 46-30.
Prior to that, both teams traded scoring runs, with the Lancers jumping out to a 9-2 lead only to see Kimball rally back while trimming the deficit to a point after one quarter, 13-12.
The Jaguars took their only lead early in the second thanks to baskets by Breyah Wilson and Dariana Willis.
East Union then reeled off 15 unanswered points behind scoring efforts of Donja Payne, Ala Tuuga, Lauren Pablo and Sarah Gleockler.
Ahead 30-20 to kick off the second half, the Lancers built up their lead. 44-26.
Jaidyn Valencia came off the bench to help spark that rally with three assists — included was a bounce pass to Tuuga on the fast-break finish — a steal. and was in on a stop in the open court.
Ashley Martin had a basket to open the fourth. But then Kimballl battled back, relying on defensive efforts of guards' Isabelle Lacap, Wilson and Willis.
In the process, they whittled away at the Lancers' big lead.
Kimball's pressure defense played a big factor in the comeback.
With 1:14 left, Payne made it a three-possession game with a put-back basket off a missed free throw by the freshman Pablo, who had hit five straight at the line prior to that point.
Lacap drilled a 3-point basket followed by a pair of free throws by Willis, making it a two-point game, 56-54.
Kimball had one last try in closing seconds but couldn't cash in on the opportunity. Lacap led all scorers with 19 points. She also had four steals.
Willis and Alicia Leonardo chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Jaguars.
Payne led East Union with 17 points, 12 rebounds (five on the offensive glass), a block and a steal.
Pablo added 13 while Gleockler netted 10.
Tuuga, in addition, had nine points, eight boards, and two steals.
The Lancers will take on Weston Ranch on Friday.
East Union 55, Kimball 48
The Lancers opened the fourth quarter by going on a 9-0 run over Kimball while cruising to victory.
Danielle James paved the way with 19 points and Jannier Ismerio added 15.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.