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Stangs sting EU
Brocks last-second jumper ices it
Ricky Inderbitzin dives for a loose ball. - photo by HIME ROMERO
When it rains, it pours.
The road got a little rougher for East Union Wednesday night at the Dalben Center in a gut-wrenching 43-41 loss to Oakdale, the Valley Oak League’s last winless team.

Following a scrappy comeback that featured a number of heads up plays and two key layups from Nick Garcia (10 points), East Union had worked a 41-41 deadlock with nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Oakdale head coach Jeremy Fields called for a timeout to set up one last play and it worked to a charm, as John Brock rolled off a screen at the left elbow and drained the game-winner with 2.3 seconds left.

“It was a clear out,” Fields said. “The play was for (Brock) to take the jumper the whole way. We were going to screen the outside of the zone, or screen his man.”

Although the Lancers did well to create a game-deciding moment in the final seconds, EU head coach Eric Simoni felt afterward that it shouldn’t have gotten to that point.

“We had chances early on to go up 10-0, 11-0, 12-0,” Simoni said. “I’m not getting my guys to continue to execute.”

Tyler Bylow was on point early, opening the game with a 3-pointer and following it up with a jumper at the five-minute mark to make it 7-0.

But the bucket would be East Union’s last for the next eight minutes, a span that saw Oakdale work a goose egg on the scoreboard to an 11-7 lead with five minutes left in the second.

“We’re definitely in a rough patch right now,” Simoni said. “On one hand, you’re happy that you hang in it, tie it up and have a chance for overtime.”

The Lancers started firing back in the third, hitting four buckets off assists after going without an assist the entire first half.

T.J. Brown found Garcia for a layup to make it 20-20, and Larry Molina hooked up Bylow (10 points) for a jumper to pull EU to within five four minutes later.

Ricky Inderbitzin then found Bylow for his second three, before Marshall Swift returned the favor, setting up Inderbitzin (7 points) for a bomb that gave East Union its first lead since the first at 29-28.

Down 41-37 with less than a minute left, Swift poked the ball free on an Oakdale possession and Inderbitzin hit the deck to corral the loose ball.

Garcia’s offensive putback moments later pulled EU to within two, and Swift found Garcia under the hoop with 12.3 seconds left to tie the contest.

But Brock’s heroics put a quick damper on the Lancer celebration.

“We finally got the monkey off our backs,” Fields said. “Guys came through. It was a tough game, but we didn’t lose our composure. We kept battling and made a play at the end.”

Brock paced the Mustangs with 10.

Tanner Combs, Garrett Porter and Ryan Thompson each had eight.

EU (1-7 Valley Oak League, 2-17 overall) travels to Sonora Friday.