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Rose, McDaniel, Wegner outstanding in rivalry win
Krystal Young had four assists off the bench for EU. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It wasn’t senior night Thursday at the Dalben Center, but it may as well have been as Rachel McDaniel, Ashley Rose and Alyssa Wegner were lights out for the Lancers in a 66-40 win over Manteca.

Meanwhile, it was all Davina Bennett all night long for the Buffaloes, but after a competitive first half between the always-heated rivals, the Lancers simply had too much firepower and ran away with it in the final 16 minutes.

“(Manteca head coach) Andrea (Hiatt) has her team prepared every time we play them,” EU head coach Jim Agostini said. “There is a rivalry between East Union and Manteca, and it’s a good thing. Andrea and her program and our program have done a good job of making it a good rivalry.”

Following Shalane Jackson’s layup off Rose’s first of six assists on the night midway through the first, it looked as though EU might make short work of the Buffs right out of the gate with a 9-1 lead.

But after a Morgan Salsedo 3-pointer, a Bennett layup and a Cynthia Perez offensive putback, Manteca had worked it to an 11-8 game.

The Lancers answered right back on three straight layups, two of which came as the result of two pinpoint breakaway assists from McDaniel (17 points, 6 assists).

“(EU) is a great team,” Hiatt said. “They’re very well-balanced, they have an outside and inside game. They’re good up and down. We got beat by a good team tonight, but there’s a lot of league left. We’ll see what happens.”

Down 19-10 to start the second, Manteca worked it to 19-18 on the strength of three field goals, including Jaqi Gutierrez’ rainbow three from the left elbow.

Not to be outdone, EU’s potent backcourt answered with a McDaniel layup and Rose 3-pointer at the 3:14 mark, then scored seven straight on a McDaniel trey, a Rose scoop layup through the lane and a McDaniel jump shot off a pump fake from the left side.

“We started off kind of slow,” said Rose, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “We missed a couple of layups (early), but by the time we got into the second and third quarters we got out and ran.

“When my teammates are running like that, it’s easy to dish it off and get the assist.”

Perez was tagged with her fourth foul at the 6:34 mark of the third and sat the rest of the frame.

EU took advantage, extending a nine-point halftime lead to a 51-32 advantage heading into the fourth.

Wegner was dominant in the second half, collecting all 10 of her points and eight of her 12 rebounds.

“She was beasting,” Rose said of Wegner. “She’s really strong and she gets up there and grabs boards. I love her.”

Bennett scored 19 points for the Buffs on just four field goals, spending most of the evening at the free-throw line. Bennett shot 17 of Manteca’s 31 free-throw attempts, converting 11. The undersized Bennett also grabbed 10 rebounds, a testament to tireless work ethic.

“Davina’s been playing incredibly for us,” Hiatt said. “At the beginning of the year, we weren’t looking for her to be an offensive threat; we were looking for her to be a defender and rebounder. But she’s getting in there and working her tail off.  She’s got a lot of guts. She puts everything out there. I can’t say enough positive things about her.”

Jackson finished with seven points and 11 rebounds, Rachel O’Neal grabbed 11 rebounds, and Krystal Young dished off four assists.

Sharon Washington scored five for the Buffaloes.

Manteca (1-5 Valley Oak League, 8-10 overall) hosts Sonora Tuesday.

East Union (5-1, 18-1) travels to Oakdale.