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East Union unleashes starters in 4th to race away from Sierra
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East Union’s Lexy Posz and Morgan Hulsebosch close in on Sierra’s Alysia Atkins late in the second half during Thursday’s crosstown varsity matchup at Sierra High. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Things weren’t looking good for East Union during the third quarter of its contest against intracity rival Sierra Thursday night.

After easily outscoring the Timberwolves in both quarters of the first half, the visiting Lancers only mustered four points in the third quarter – giving Sierra a chance to wedge its way back into the game.

But East Union coach Jim Agostini made a calculated move in sitting his starters so they had fresh legs down the stretch as the Lancers hit a hot streak en route to a 56-40 victory in the Valley Oak League showdown.

“You try to do that because you want your best players there down the stretch when it counts,” Agostini said. “We got ourselves in a little bit of a foul situation and needed to buy ourselves some time, but having them there together was a huge boost.”

During the first half, senior guard Lexy Posz helped as a role player in the Lancer offense. Posz had five points in the first two quarters, and helped with three rebounds and a blocked shot.

But she was far from done.

As East Union (2-0, 10-3 overall ) hit the game’s home stretch, and after Sierra closed the once insurmountable gap down to six points, Posz hit her stride by sinking the second three-point shot for the Lancers in 10 seconds – a shot that served as the final blow for any Sierra (0-2, 8-5) comeback. She would continue to tack on two timely layups that only extended the Lancer lead.

“You run plays for your players that have been there before, and Lexi is one of those players you can call on to get things done,” Agostini said. “Lexy, Briona (Fontenot), Shalane (Jackson), Morgan (Hulsebosch) – they’re the heart and soul of this team and they showed it tonight.”

Fontenot led the Lancers in scoring with 19 points. Posz finished with 15 points, while Jackson – who pulled in 17 rebounds – had six.

While the result wasn’t exactly what he wanted to see, Sierra head coach Steve Unterholzner said he was proud of the prowess that his girls showed on the court and the heart that they exhibited in mounting what was almost a crowd-shocking comeback.

“I’m very pleased with the way that they played tonight,” Unterholzner said. “They didn’t give up. It was a much closer game than that score shows.

“I think that Alysia (Atkins) came to play tonight.  She woke up this morning as a team leader.”

Atkins led Sierra in scoring with 19 points and added four rebounds, two steals and a block to the tally sheet.

The Lancers will take the court on Tuesday when they host the Kimball Jaguars of Tracy at 7:15. Sierra will host Oakdale on the same night.