It took a strong second-half start for Sierra High to get past crosstown rival East Union in Wednesday’s Valley Oak League affair.
“Even though we jumped out ahead, we still couldn’t put (the Lancers) away,” said Timberwolves coach Scott Thomason following his team’s 68-59 win.
Part of the reason for that was East Union’s array of strong outside shooters.
“They were hot shooting 3s,” Thomason added.
All told, the Lancers hit 11 treys during the game led by senior Steve Cline, who hit seven 3s while finishing with a game-high 23 points.
“Our problem was that we couldn’t get rebounds or stops when we needed them,” said East Union coach Ryan Tarr.
Sierra (5-5 VOL, 10-13 overall) was led by the one-two punch of Jaime Ochoa and Jaedon Malone.
Both finished with double-double stats — Ochoa had 15 points and 13 assists while Malone had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Most of those numbers came during crucial parts of the game, in particular, the second half.
The Lancers (0-10, 4-19) had their shooting stroke going from the get-go, with sophomore Christian Cuevas opening the game with a quick 3.
It didn’t take long for Cline to showcase his unlimited range from beyond the arc. Couple that with JoJo Espinoza slashing his way to the basket or connecting on mid-range jumpers — East Union was up in the middle of the second quarter, 26-21.
Down 28-26 at the intermission, Sierra began to play its type of game early in the third.
Ochoa helped set up Jaylen Jackson, Kendrick Currey, and freshman Ryan Borgeson.
John Elijah also got in the act, driving in for a layup off the inbound pass.
At one point, the Timberwolves reeled off 16 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 52-36 edge.
East Union chipped away at the lead with Espinoza converting on a three-point play and Cline, Drew Sena and Asiah Scott connecting on 3s.
Sierra finally secured the victory by connecting on eight of 10 free throws in the closing minutes.
Jackson and Currey both finished with nine.
For the Lancers, Espinoza and Cuevas chipped in with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.