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Lancers maintain league lead with thrashing of CV
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CERES — Jim Agostini’s experimentation of different defensive looks didn’t last long in the East Union girls basketball team’s 58-38 victory over Central Valley Tuesday.

The Lancers were down 13-10 after the first quarter and nursed a 25-23 lead at halftime before going back to what they do best: Play pressure defense on the ball handlers and reap the benefits on the other end.

East Union (5-1, 13-4 overall), which remains a game ahead of Sonora, Weston Ranch and Manteca in the Valley Oak League standings, went on a 13-4 run in the third quarter and continued to stretch its lead with a 20-point flurry in the fourth.

“We came out and tried some things that didn’t work,” Agostini said. “When we made the change defensive we got a great response from that. Give (Central Valley credit), they were comfortable with what we came out with and they forced us to make an adjustment.”

East Union appears to have shaken off the cobwebs from last Friday’s 50-40 road loss to Weston Ranch. Agostini said that the difference between Friday’s effort and Tuesday’s was passing. The Lancers had just three assists in Friday’s loss but posted 18 against Central Valley, which led to balanced scoring.

Sophomore forward Shalane Jackson led four Lancers with double-digit scoring, as she poured in 15 points to go with 13 rebounds. Lexy Posz flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Krystal Young added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists; Briona Fontenot chipped in 10 points off the bench; and center Rachel O’Neal pulled down 12 boards.

Phylicia Martinez paced Central Valley (2-4, 5-12) with 12 points, and Alyssa Long had 10.

The win sets up a key showdown with intracity foe Manteca on Thursday. Manteca beat East Union 52-47 in a non-league tournament last month.

Manteca is coming off Tuesday’s hard-fought 39-37 win over Sierra after giving up a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in a 46-43 loss to Central Valley last Thursday.

“It’s a great opportunity to go into a hostile environment and play a good basketball game,” Agostini said.

— Jonamar Jacinto