TRACY — East Union overwhelmed Lathrop 65-29 Thursday in the opening round of the 37th annual Tracy Breakfast Lions/Tom Hawkins Tournament at Tracy High.
It was a rematch of a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III first-round playoff contest between the Manteca Unified rivals. Lathrop won that game decisively 44-21 last year, but both teams are much different now.
“We're having done to us what we used to do to other teams,” Spartans coach Dwayne Davis said.
With two of his top two frontcourt players on vacation, Lathrop (1-8) had no answer for 5-foot-10 Ala Tu'uga — one the few returning Lancers — in the paint and was outrebounded, 45-30. There was no answer for East Union’s quick and scrappy guards either.
Tu'uga finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Younger sister Lani Tu'uga added nine points, 10 rebounds and five steals, while fellow freshman guard Taylor Snaer collected 12 points and six boards.
Junior guard Kyshanti King led East Union (10-2) with 13 points and five steals off the bench, while Danielle James drained three 3s for her nine points.
The final margin could have been much wider, but the Lancers shot a paltry 7-for-24 from the free-throw line. They scored the first eight points of the contest, led 15-5 after the first quarter and 28-7 at halftime. Jasmine Denning made a layup with 5:12 remaining for Lathrop's only points in the second quarter.
King, a transfer from Weston Ranch, had already made her presence felt by that point with eight points and three steals.
“We haven't had depth like this in a long time,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “It's very comforting to a coaching staff knowing that we can get players in, rest other players and still be ale to keep the pace we want for the whole game.”
Snaer's and-1 with 36.1 seconds left capped East Union's 13-2 closing run in which Lathrop was limited to two points in the final 3 minutes, 45 seconds of the game.
Isa Paniagua had 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for Lathrop. Kierstin Constantino contributed seven points, four assists and four steals.
“We know we're playing teams stronger than our league, and we have to get better for our league,” Davis said. “These are four games that, come January we ask are we better?”
Both squads are facing familiar opponents today back at Swenson Gym. The Spartans face off with West of Tracy at 11 a.m. looking to avenge a 32-27 loss to the Wolf Pack in the Tony Contreras Stagg Delta Queen Classic.
East Union, meanwhile, tangles with Merced (8-2), which lost to the Lancers on Dec. 17, 60-58. Their showdown is scheduled for a 5 o'clock start tonight.
“We'll be heavily challenged,” Agostini said. “They're a great team. For as young as we are, the more times our team can play opponents like this, the better we'll get. It will be a good experience for us.”
Patterson 51, Weston Ranch 49 (OT)
Weston Ranch (5-5) trailed by 10 with about three minutes left in regulation but rallied to tie it and force the extra period.
The Cougars had a chance to take a lead in the final minutes of overtime but missed an and-one free throw before Patterson (9-3) drained the game-winner with three seconds remaining.
“We played a great, playoff-style game against Patterson, which is a playoff team,” Ranch coach Michael Williams said. “We battled really well, but they made the shots in the end and we didn’t.”
Janay Holmes paced Weston Ranch with 14 points and five rebounds. Jennalyn Laminero collected 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and four assists. Dearri Ross pitched in with 10 points and five steals.
Up next is Beyer today at 12:30.
Carson 41, Ripon 26
Ranked 10th in the state of Nevada according to MaxPreps computer ratings, the Senators (6-2) from Carson separated themselves with a 16-4 burst in the fourth quarter.
Ripon (7-4) trailed 17-13 at halftime and remained competitive for much of the contest. No one finished in double figures, as Carson’s Naycy Alvarez led all players with nine points.
Tianna Sidtikun registered seven points, four rebounds and three steals. Mikaylah Vaught and Myra Toledo scored six points apiece.
Ripon faces Downey or tourney host Tracy in consolation action today at 2.