Olivia Vezaldenos was just an eighth grader the last time East Union defeated Kimball.
After seven straight losses, the senior standout helped lead her Lancers past Kimball in Wednesday’s Valley Oak League opener at the Dalben Center, 58-41.
“That was a great win,” said Vezaldenos, who finished with 15 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.
Teammate Ruby Daube chipped in with 15 points, four boards and three steals.
“This win (over Kimball) was the perfect way to start off league play,” she said.
East Union (1-0, 12-1) was far from perfect at the outset.
Missed opportunities and turnovers by both teams kept the game close through most of the first half.
“Our defense got better — that’s when we got it going,” said Lancers coach Jim Agostini.
He had Jessica Pablo and Daube buckling down on the Jaguars’ deadly outside shooter Pearl Bautista.
“They did as good of a job (containing Bautista),” Agostini said.
She still had a game-high 23 points, burying five treys.
“We were able to get our offense going on we got a couple of defensive stops,” said the East Union coach.
That run came shortly before halftime. The Lancers went on a 9-4 run by pushing the pace. Vezaldenos’ pass to freshman center Donja Payne resulted into a three-point play.
Ciara Goodwin dropped in a nice pass to Daube for layup.
Goodwin was stellar on the boards, getting eight first-half rebounds.
East Union took that momentum into the third quarter, putting together a 10-3 rally.
Payne, Goodwin, Daube and Vezaldenos supplied most of the offensive firepower as the Lancers upped their lead to double digits.
Early in the fourth, East Union had a 45-30 advantage.
While thrilled with the win, Agostini kept things in perspective.
“This is the VOL. It’s going to be a grind. This was the first of 14 games,” he said.
Sierra 42, Oakdale 28
Sophomore center Lindsey Walljasper gave Sierra just the spark it needed, scoring eight straight points in the third quarter after the Timberwolves (1-0 VOL, 9-5 overall) trailed 17-15 at halftime. They outscored visiting Oakdale (0-1, 7-6) 27-11 in the second half.
“We had a really slow start,” Sierra coach Martha Spivey said. “We lacked intensity on defense and struggled on offense. We refocused at half and came out ready to go. I’m really proud of how we responded in the second half. Every night is going to be a fight and we have to be mentally prepared to compete with the high competition we’ll see in league.”
Walljasper finished with nine points. While she led the second-half charge, Alison Edwards scored all eight of her points in the first half to keep the Timberwolves within range. Kayla Wilson paced all scorers with 10 points, and Emery Sipe had seven to lead Oakdale.
East Union 49, Kimball 33
Elevated from the freshman squad, Nina Murphy aided East Union with 15 points in the league opener. Amaya Higgins pitched in with 12.
East Union 36, Kimball 17
The Lancers coasted to victory behind Sarah Gloeckler’s 10 points. Jaidyn Valencia contributed eight.