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Perfect 10: Lancers still undefeated in preseason
McDaniel scores 20 to propel East Union into semifinal round
East Union High guard Rachel McDaniel meanders her way through the Modesto defense with just Love Grewal to beat during Saturday’s winner’s bracket quarterfinal matchup in the Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament. McDaniel finished with 20 points to lead all scorers. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

TRACY — Ten games, 10 victories.
Yet, Ashley Rose and Jim Agostini were quick to shrug off their blemish-free 10-0 record following East Union’s impressive 52-30 throttling of Modesto Saturday in the second round of the Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament at Tracy High.

Rose insists the record is an afterthought.

Coach Agostini said that if his Lancers were to win all 13 of their non-league games but start off the Valley Oak League season with a loss, “then what we did in the preseason means nothing.”

But it does mean something that representatives of at least four VOL rivals, two of which are also competing in the tournament, were in attendance at Swenson Gym.

With the regular season less than two weeks away from tipping off, the two-time defending champion is again the team to beat.

“We just need to stay humble and continue to work,” Rose said. Even though we’re 10-0, that means nothing. Right now it’s about getting better, and once we get into the (regular) season we will see if what we’re doing now pays off.”

Rose, the team’s leading per-game scorer, had a rare off night but that mattered little.

With teammate Rachel McDaniel handling the bulk of the scoring with a game-high 20 points, Rose found other ways to contribute. While she still fired in 15 points, her eight steals and seven assists were more instrumental in East Union’s victory.

“I know that if I’m not shooting well I can just dish it off,” Rose said. “If I have an off night, usually somebody else will have a good night. When one person steps up, the rest of us just try to step it up, too.”

The Lancers got that spark from McDaniel in the second quarter.

The Cal Baptist-bound guard erupted for 11 points in the period and keyed a 14-0 flurry that surged the Lancers to a 28-8 lead.

East Union was ahead 30-12 by halftime.

It wasn’t quite the offensive display the Lancers put on in their previous 64-42 win over Modesto on Dec. 15, when they were up by a 44-20 margin going into the break.

But Agostini was much more impressed with the defensive effort.

The Panthers (5-6) didn’t score their first points until Jessica Rodriguez converted a 3-point play with 1:13 left in the opening quarter to make it 8-3.

“Everything (feeds) off our defense,” Agostini said. “It just ignites our team. Whether it’s a trap or a straight man-to-man, the girls have fun doing it.”

East Union looks to make it 11 straight against Los Banos (8-4) in the semifinals Monday at West High. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Manteca 64, Downey 22

The Buffaloes (6-4) shook off a rusty start and outscored Atwater (1-8) 39-12 in the middle two quarters to run away with it.

Sophomore point guard Sharon Washington led the way with 19 points, Kristi Llamas collected 14 and nailed four 3-pointers and Morgan Salsedo contributed 10.

Laura Lopez scored all of Downey’s nine first-half points but was held scoreless the rest of the way.

“That’s been our thing lately, it takes a little time to get things going,” Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt said. “Right out of the gates we get so excited that we play out of control.

“We settled down and buried it in the second and third quarters. We needed a win like that. Everybody played a great game.”

Manteca continues consolation-bracket play against Mills (3-6) of Millbrae Monday back at Tracy High. The game is set for 6 p.m.

Los Banos 52, Weston Ranch 39

The Cougars (9-2) were plagued by turnovers and a poor shooting effort from the field (10-for-44).

Courtney Duran led Weston Ranch with 12 points, and guard Timnesha Wilson turned in eight. Freshman posts Jazmin Strane and Denell Fox each contributed seven, with Strane pulling down 12 rebounds and Fox finishing with 10.

“We just had a little bit of a letdown after (Friday’s 57-55 overtime win against Tracy),” Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer said. “We just looked sluggish. We were a step behind, and it was not a good game for us at all.”

Weston Ranch meets Modesto at 4:30 Monday afternoon in Swenson Gym.