The fun is about to begin for East Union’s girls basketball team.
Anchored by a near quadruple-double effort from senior Shalane Jackson, the Lancers capped their easiest stretch of the season Monday with a 61-34 throttling of visiting Modesto, a rebuilding squad that captured the Modesto Metro Conference crown last year.
East Union is undefeated after playing three teams with a combined 3-16 record, and that’s not counting its Foundation Game — which does not go against overall records — with still-winless Summerville.
On Wednesday they host 4-1 Patterson with road contests against 5-2 Riverbank and 4-1 Grace Davis coming up next week. Then on Dec. 27 they tip off the Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament where they are sure to encounter even stiffer competition.
“It’s a little easier than I thought — I definitely wasn’t looking for that,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said of his team’s early-season schedule. “These are games that we’ve had in our schedule in previous years, but I am expecting Patterson to come in here in a couple days and battle.”
Monday’s contest wasn’t much of one.
East Union scored 17 unanswered points to lead 19-2 early on, and by the end of the quarter it was ahead comfortably 25-8 while forcing 15 turnovers.
Jackson put forth a phenomenal all-around performance, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, eight steals and two blocks. She was also 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
“Her game really started to evolve last year,” Agostini said of Jackson, who had played the post during her first three varsity seasons. “She’s playing some point forward for us to help the backcourt out a little bit. It was overall a great performance.”
Sophomore Tia Tu’uga added 22 points and eight rebounds and was often the beneficiary of Jackson’s improved floor game, especially in the open court. By halftime, they each outscored Modesto by themselves with Tu’uga pouring in 18 points and Jackson 16 to the Panthers’ total of 15.
Role players such as Kristen Piasecki (eight points), Alison Telles (five steals, four offensive rebounds) and Rosemarie Wood (nine rebounds) had their own ways of impacting the game.
Monae Orange had nine points and nine rebounds for Modesto (0-7), which committed 37 turnovers.
“We’re trying to get our younger players a lot of action so that they can get comfortable with the speed of the varsity game,” Agostini said.
“There are a lot of things we see as a staff that we have a lot to improve on, but the girls are buying in. Our practices are very competitive.”
Tokay 54, Sierra 47
The Timberwolves (0-7) had their best showing of the season Monday in Lodi, but it was too little, too late.
Guards Celine Barber and Shelby Shirron each scored nine points in Sierra’s 23-point fourth quarter comeback barrage. Sierra trailed 15-3 after a quarter of play and was down by as much as 23 with about five minutes to go.
“If we started our run about two minutes earlier it might be a different story,” Sierra coach Steve Unterholzner said. “We played with heart in the fourth quarter.”
Barber, a sophomore, exploded for 21 points, while Shirron ended up with 10. Sierra struggled with Tokay’s press defense in the early going, and an 11-for-29 effort from the free-throw line made it even tougher to complete the comeback.
East Union 43, Modesto 21
The Squires (5-2) fared well despite missing two starters, but two others were sidelined with injuries.
Nayeli Del Real and Sam Hines picked up the slack, turning in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
East Union 54, Modesto 11
Sam Gonzalez fired 13 points to lead all scorers, and Rena Dragony pulled down 14 rebounds to go with 10 points as the Pages improved to 7-0.
Destiny Flores contributed 11 points and five steals, and Anna Wood finished with eight points and seven rebounds.