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Lancers survive a scare at Oakdale behind Posz 11
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OAKDALE — On a night in which East Union’s newest Valley Oak League rival, Weston Ranch, couldn’t contain a scrappy effort from a hard-working underdog, the Lancers showed the rest of the league how it’s done, squashing a furious bid by the upset-minded Mustangs in a tight 41-39 victory on the road.

“Oakdale’s having a good year,” EU head coach Jim Agostini said. “They were only a game back coming in. This was a must-win for them on their floor. We knew it was going to be tough, and they gave it everything they had.”

With Oakdale focused on shutting down Ashley Rose (11 points, 8 steals) and Rachel McDaniel (5 points, 8 assists) it was up to Lexy Posz to provide an added scoring punch and the sophomore responded, scoring 11 for the Lancers.

“Lexy’s 11, that was really steady for us,” Agostini said. “That was about four above her average. When the defense is focused on McDaniel and Rose, we need (Alyssa) Wegner (6 points, 9 rebounds), (Shalane) Jackson (6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Posz to step up. On most nights we need two out of the three, tonight we got very pivotal efforts from all three.”

Oakdale led by as many as five in the second quarter, but EU was able to battle back and take a 32-29 lead into the break.

The Lancers deployed a full-court man-to-man defensive scheme in the second half that paved the way to victory.

East Union only committed 13 turnovers, and just four in the second half.

With the win, the Lancers eclipsed their win total from a year ago (18).

East Union (6-1 VOL, 19-1 overall) hosts a huge contest with second-place Sonora Thursday at the Dalben Center.

Tip is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Ceres 58, Weston Ranch 54
The bugaboo all year long for Chris Bauer’s Cougars is missing players on gameday and Tuesday night at Weston Ranch the problem reared its ugly head once more as Weston Ranch suffered a stunning upset loss to the Bulldogs.

Jazmin Strane finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Timnesha Wilson had 13 and eight assists.

Ceres outscored the Cougars 19-6 in the fourth quarter.

“Ceres played well,” Bauer said. “We panicked in the fourth. We didn’t have a full roster again. That’s been our issue all year long — players that can’t play. We’ve got to push through that.”

Weston Ranch (4-3 VOL, 14-6 overall) travels to Central Valley Thursday.

Sonora 53, Manteca 42
At Winter Gym, Jaqi Gutierrez hit four 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Wildcats took control with four minutes remaining in the fourth.

Sharon Washington finished with 13 as well, while Cynthia Perez added six.

“I wish I could have the first four (minutes) and the last four back,” Manteca head coach Andrea Hiatt said. “We took them down to the wire, but we panicked. We threw the ball away at crucial times.”

Manteca had very little trouble breaking Sonora’s press early on, but once the Wildcats sat back in a zone, the Buffs had trouble finding its shooting touch.

Sonora sank 12 of 15 free-throws in the fourth to ice it.

Manteca shot just four fourth-quarter free-throws, converting one.

“Starting tomorrow, it’s a new half,” Hiatt said.

Manteca (1-6 VOL, 8-12 overall) will look to get back on track with a trip to Oakdale Thursday.

Sierra 55, Central Valley 44
In Ceres, the bigs handled business and the guards shot the lights out as the T’Wolves improved to 3-4 in league play with a convincing win over the hapless Hawks.

Ariel McIntyre paced the Sierra effort with 19, and Heather Scharmann added 16.

Natalie Goulart patrolled the backcourt for 11 more.

“It was a good overall team win,” Sierra head coach Isaac Gutierrez said. “Our five, six and seven girls are all hurt. We were down a few, but everyone played and everyone contributed. The bigs came through and the guards scored.”

Gutierrez was also pleased with how the normally slow-starting T’Wolves stormed out of the gate to start the contest.

“We had a very nice first half,” he said.

Sierra will learn Thursday if defensive specialist Sharisse Atkins will be finished for the season with an injury.

The T’Wolves host Ceres Tursday, as well.

— Brandon Petersen