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Kouvanis scores 24, but not enough for Lathrop to stun EU
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With one of its top players sidelined for missing practice, East Union High’s boys basketball team was nearly burned by one of its former lower-level players.

Lathrop High junior Andrew Kouvanis, who attended East Union as a freshman, started the contest scalding hot and finished with 24 points, but it wasn’t enough in a 70-62 defeat Wednesday.

Kouvanis drilled three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and in the second he aggressively attacked the basket and drew fouls. He shot eight free throws in the period and made seven.

“He played like had something to prove to East Union,” said Lathrop coach J.J. Ramirez. “That’s kind of what we’ve been looking to do. We changed our mindset in our last couple of practices by making things a little more intense and taking it a little more personal. We’re moving in the right direction.”

The visiting Lancers (1-0 Valley Oak League, 7-5 overall) trailed 20-14 at the end of the first quarter and was down by as much as 10 early in the second. They broke free from a 34-34 halftime tie in the third quarter but were never comfortable.

“We came in a little flat, which has become a little habit that we need to break out of,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said. “We had to battle back, and it was nice to be tested a little bit. Lathrop played hard.”

TeeJay Gordon and Jordan Kron recorded 20 and 19 points, respectively, for East Union, which was without standout senior guard Robert Vaughn. They were also a combined 16-for-19 from the foul line.

Ricky Chavez added 13 points for the Spartans (0-1, 2-9), who played their first VOL varsity contest with seniors Wednesday.

It doesn’t get any easier for either team Friday, as East Union hosts Sierra while Lathrop travels to Sonora.

Weston Ranch 74, Oakdale 57
In Oakdale, the Cougars (1-0, 10-2) increased a seven-point lead with a 15-7 run in the second quarter and never looked back.

Vince Thompson kept Oakdale (0-1, 9-4) in it early on with three 3-pointers in the first quarter. He would end up with 15 points, and post Jake Martinez led the Mustangs with 21.

For Weston Ranch, sophomore Dylan Alexander had 21 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists. The Cougars’ other two sophomores, guard Zerrion Payton (17 points, four assists) and 6-foot-7 Daiveon Leverett (14 points, five dunks) left their mark. Reserve EJ Allen chipped in 10 points and seven boards, and Andre Beard contributed eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

“Oakdale has always been a tough place for us to play,” Weston Ranch coach Ryan Bono said. “I was really worried and hoped the guys would respond, and I think they did that.”