Jessica Pablo missed East Union’s final six pre-league contests after rolling an ankle in a game at Sonora.
On Wednesday, she showed her coaches that she is more than ready to carry her own weight and even the weight of her team, if necessary. The sophomore guard accounted for 11 of East Union’s 15 fourth-quarter points to help the team pull away from visiting Oakdale, 57-39. Pablo finished with just the 11 points, but they were instrumental in keeping the upset-minded Mustangs (0-3 Valley Oak League, 2-13 overall) at bay.
“She was starting for us at the beginning of the year and she’s been coming off the bench in her three games back,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “We have her up (on the varsity team) as a sophomore because we have confidence in her. With the defense gearing up for other players on our team, we know that if teams leave her open she’ll knock them down — and she knocked down five big ones in the fourth quarter for us.”
East Union (2-1, 10-4) led 11-5 after the first quarter but couldn’t break away until the fourth. Oakdale was able to stay within range while playing at a favorable tempo. In the third, the Lancers picked up the intensity and quickened the pace. Agostini credited reserves such as Lania Taylor for providing a spark in the third quarter with “nice hustle plays.”
Ruby Daube led the way with 17 points and four steals. Anna Wood fired 12 points and dished out five assists, and Rena Dragony grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Olivia Vezaldenos added 11 points and six steals.
Coleen Ibasco paced Oakdale with 10 points.
Central Catholic 59
The Buffaloes (2-1, 10-6) battled through foul trouble to avoid an upset in Modesto.
Central Catholic (0-3, 6-10) took a 17-10 lead into the second quarter and was ahead 43-42 after three. Manteca then erupted for 27 points in the fourth quarter to escape victorious.
Loretta Kakala and Elizabeth Tolbert fired 19 and 18 points, respectively, despite sitting out much of the game with foul trouble. They each picked up their third fouls in the second period. Tolbert was 12 for 17 on free throws. Leah Manuleleua helped pick up the slack with 11 points, 12 rebounds and six steals.
Danielle Friedrich poured in 29 points for the Raiders, while Alexandra Candelario had 18.
“At times it was really ugly but it was a good road win,” Manteca coach MaryAnn Tolbert said. “I’m still waiting for us to put four quarters together, but down the stretch we were able to do well offensively and slow them down a little bit.”
Kimball 84, Sierra 47
The Jaguars (3-0, 16-0) continued their impressive march to start the season at Sierra (1-2, 5-10).
Freshman Raziya Potter scored 18 points to spearhead Kimball. Sierra got nine points from Kristen Maestretti and eight from Kayla Wilson.
“Kimball is a really good team and I think we did a decent job breaking the press, but what really hurt us tonight was our half court defense,” Sierra coach Martha Spivey said. “We did not box out well and allowed the penetration middle too many times. Overall, the girls didn’t give up and we played hard until the end.”
Oakdale 46, East Union 42
Thirteen missed free throws and costly turnovers doomed East Union (2-1, 9-4).
Haley Gosney tallied 15 points and Dejohna Pryor added 10.
Kimball 65, Sierra 35
Vanessa Padilla led the Timberwolves with 13 points in the defeat.
Kimball 65, Sierra 51
Yolanda Tavares scored 13 points for Sierra, and Suneet Dhaliwal chimed in with 10 in a fast-paced contest.
East Union 40, Oakdale 11
The Pages (2-1) amassed 33 rebounds, 23 steals and seven assists in a balanced team victory.