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Dauby, Hawks open season with trophy
Neil Hafelys Alexis Erich blows past two McParland defenders during the championship game of the East Union Junior High Tournament on Saturday at the Dalben Center. Neil Hafely won 40-39. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

The East Union Lady Lancers Junior High Tournament ended with all eyes on – who else – Ruby Dauby, Neil Hafely’s do-it-all point guard.

The eighth grader dribbled out the final 12 seconds of the championship game on Saturday evening, securing Neil Hafely’s 40-39 victory over McParland.

Dauby scored 15 points and fellow eighth-grade guard Cassandra Avila had 10 as the Hawks kicked off the Manteca Unified Student Trust basketball season with a milestone moment.

Afterwards, the girls gathered at midcourt, clutching the tournament trophy, satisfied with their effort. Neil Hafely won convincingly against Mossdale and Nile Garden to advance to the final, and then had to hold off McParland in a see-saw battle between schools separated by less than two miles.

Neither team led by more than five points, Neil Hafely coach Ross Clark said, as momentum swung back and forth. The Hawks led by three in the final minute, before a McParland basket with 12 seconds left closed the gap to one.

“The takeaway was that you should never give up,” Clark added. “We’d get behind and then come back. We held on at the end.”

Neil Hafely stretched its winning streak to four games on Monday with a 29-9 victory over Lathrop as the MUST season opened with 10 boys and girls games at sites throughout the school district.

Dauby had 18 points and Avila 8 for the Hawks, who travel to Widmer on Wednesday.

“We’re ahead of a lot of other teams, because we got three games” in over the weekend, said Clark, whose team finished third in the North Division  last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Plus, he has Dauby.

With an AAU pedigree, Dauby has played above the competition through four games. She was named tournament MVP after totaling 56 points in three games on Saturday, including 20 or more in the first two games.

Dauby had all but three of Neil Hafely’s points in a 24-12 victory over Mossdale in the opener, and had 20 in a 33-15 win against Nile Garden.

“Cassandra and Ruby carried us,” Clark said, “especially Ruby with her ball-handling skills.”

Manteca High will host the next junior high tournament on Jan. 26.