Head coach Brett Lewis is hopeful that his East Union boys basketball team is peaking in time for the start of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The Lancers returned from the foothills with a 61-53 victory over Sonora Tuesday while avenging a disappointing loss to the Wildcats from earlier in the season.
East Union (7-7 Valley Oak League, 18-8 overall) rolls into the postseason with wins over Manteca and Sonora that followed two competitive defeats against VOL co-titlists Sierra and Weston Ranch.
“It’s always tough to win up there, but if we play like we did in the second half for the playoffs we’ll be tough to beat,” Lewis said.
Sonora (4-10, 8-19) actually led 42-28 with five minutes left in the third quarter. It was all Lancers from there.
Aaron Ramos led the charge, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the second half while racking up 10 steals. Lewis said most of those steals came in the fourth quarter as EU took charge of the ballgame.
Center Jake Danhoff scored 23 points while limiting Ben Bates, Sonora’s 6-foot-7 standout, to four points in the second half after he pumped in 11 in the first. Justin Nieto also aided the second-half comeback by scoring all eight of his points over the final two periods.
Manteca 49, Oakdale 42
In Oakdale, the Buffaloes (7-7, 14-12) ended their losing streak to three while improving their postseason chances. They will find out this afternoon if they qualify for the SJS Division III playoffs.
Manteca looked to its all-junior triumvirate of Austin Haro (16 points, four 3s), Michael Hatfield (14 points) and Miguel Lopez (12 points) to carry the load Tuesday. Haro did most of his damage in the first half, while Hatfield and Lopez scored six each as Manteca took over with a 12-6 third quarter.
Sonora 38, East Union 34
East Union (3-11, 9-17) was ahead 32-30 late but stumbled down the stretch. Kyle Emerson tallied 10 points, while Gabe Chavez chimed in with eight.