When push came to shove, the East Union Lancers met the challenge, taking a three-point lead on a Alex Del Real three-pointer with just over four minutes remaining. It would be the Lancers’ last challenge met, as Riverbank closed on a 15-0 run on its way to a 54-42 win Wednesday.
Del Real nailed a three from the top of the key, giving East Union a 42-39 lead in the game’s waning minutes. Riverbank, which held a 12-point lead late in the third quarter, went ice cold to open the fourth, enabling the Lancers to erase a six-point deficit to open the quarter.
But in the same fashion, as the Lancers took their turn in going ice cold, the Bruins took the opportunity to get hot. Fifteen unanswered hot.
“We feed off our defense,” Riverbank head coach Jeff Jennings said. “They hit some incredibly tough shots; they really have some kids that can play. It is just a game of momentum, so we tried to ride the wave. I felt like we came out and got a stop and then we took momentum.
“It all starts on the defensive end.”
Del Real hit his second 3 in the fourth and teammate Brandon Cline help spark the Lancers failed comeback with his third and fourth 3s of the game to open the fourth. Cline sank back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game but fell silent against a Bruins club that hit nine 3-pointers until his pivotal makes in the fourth.
“We dug ourselves a hole there in the third,” East Union head coach Bret Lewis said. “I felt like we should have been up at halftime we just gave up too many easy buckets.
“We battled back and got the lead, but I think at that point, we just ran out of gas.”
Riverbank (5-0) seized the moment, getting an 11 point spurt from sophomore Rolaun Dunham and junior Kenny Veliz. Veliz hit four straight free throws sandwiched around a pair of Dunham conversions. Riverbank retook the lead with2:58 remaining and never relinquished.
Veliz finished with a game-high 18 points, followed by Dunham’s 16 points and 13 rebounds. Del Real finished in double figures with 10 points, while Cline added 12 and junior guard Justine Nieto chipped in with nine.
East Union 55, Riverbank 50
The Lancers erased a 21-7 first quarter lead on their way to the team’s first victory of the season Friday against the Bruins.
Andrew Ruiz led East Union (1-0) with 18 points, while teammates Jordan Perry and Joe Menzel added 11 and 10, respectively.