East Union’s Ciara Goodwin can get things going the right direction in a hurry.
Goodwin scored nine of the game’s first 11 points Tuesday as her Lancers started the contest on a 16-0 run en route to a 55-32 Valley Oak League basketball win over host Sierra.
“It was a good start,” Goodwin said. “Olivia (Vezaldenos) and the other guards they saw me.
“We just ran the floor well and transition was good for us.”
Even though Vezaldenos is the focus of the opponents’ defenses night after night, she again earned high-point honors with 18 points along with eight assists and six rebounds.
“Coach told us in the locker room that we needed to have a good start because VOL wins are not easy to come by,” Vezaldenos said. “So we needed to come out and play hard.
“We wanted to keep up our energy and not play to the score. We wanted to have a 0-0 mentality the whole game.”
After a rough first quarter, the Timberwolves (1-6 VOL, 9-11 overall) paced the Lancers (7-0, 19-1) point-for-point in the second period and were outscored by seven points in the second half.
“League games are tough and there are 14 of them,” East Unioncoach Jim Agostini said. “And they all don’t go according to the master plan. You have five players on the other team that are going to compete and I thought Sierra did that tonight.
“A lot of defenses are geared to stop Olivia (Vezaldenos) and we have seen it all – triangles, boxes and different types of defenses—and if you want to stop Olivia we have other members on this basketball team and I thought Ciara (Goodwin) was excellent tonight. She ran some great picks and had some really nice finishes.”
East Union had 13 assists and 14 steals.
“We are always trying to share the basketball,” Agostini said. “We try to make other teammates look good. Share the basketball and good things will to a team.
“As far as steals, that could be a number of things. We have been playing good, solid, hard, fundamentally sound defense. When you keep your hands in the passing lanes a lot of time the ball will be thrown right into your hands. Just show your length defensively and keep the ball in front of you.”
Goodwin finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and teammate Ruby Daube chipped in 11 points with five assists, five steals and four rebounds.
The Timberwolves were held scoreless through the first eight minutes but Allison Edwards was fouled while shooting at the first-quarter buzzer. She sank two of three free throws to get Sierra on the board at 16-2 and she finished with 17 points.
“We had a hard time putting that ball in the basket in the first quarter,” Timberwolves coach Martha Spivey said. “We couldn’t buy a basket. We had good looks but they wouldn’t fall for us in that first quarter.
“Defensively we did overall a decent, consistent job which was good. And Allison Edwards had a huge game. She needed that for confidence and going through the rest of league. We started a new season today – 0-0 – we are going to play it like an eight-game season and finish hard.”
Weston Ranch 24
Lejla Pepic scored 12 of her 19 points in the third quarter as the Buffaloes (7-0, 14-7) crushed Weston Ranch (0-7, 2-16) in their final tune-up for Friday’s big first-place showdown at East Union.
The Cougars also had no answer for 6-foot-2 Loretta Kakala, who had 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Rubel Dehal contributed with 14 points, and Sydnee Fryer racked up 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists to go with her six points.
Lathrop 47, Oakdale 39
OAKDALE — The Mustangs (1-6, 8-11) were able to keep Lathrop from running wild, but Lathrop (5-2, 11-6) ended on a 15-6 run to escape victorious.
The Spartans trailed 34-33 in the fourth quarter before Myani Thornton’s 3-pointer from the corner gave them the lead for good. Thornton led all players with 16 points, Danya Phillips had 10 and Shelia Mertillen chipped in nine. Sarah Bohrer registered 14 points for the Mustangs.
“It was a grind-it-out affair,” Lathrop coach Dwayne Davis said. “Oakdale had a game plan; they wanted to make sure we didn’t get into transition the way we wanted to. What I liked about this win is that we were able to go into our offensive sets and score that way.”
Sierra 42, East Union 29
The Timberwolves held the Lancers to single digits for three of the four quarters.
Gupriya Thandi and Yolanda Tavaris shared high-point honors for Sierra with 10 points apiece.
Miraya James paced the Lancers with nine points.
East Union 34, Sierra 26
The Lancers broke a 22-22 tie after three quarters to pull away for the win.
Sarah Gleockler led East Union with nine points and Jaidyn Valencia added eight.
Sierra’s Dolce Cruz led all scorers with 12 points.