East Union blew out its first four opponents by 20 or more points, including a 53-25 shelling of Ripon Christian in a Foundation Game.
That streak ended Tuesday against Tracy, but more importantly for the Lancers their winning streak to start the season lives on. They overcame 26 turnovers and a hot start from the Bulldogs to prevail 62-47 at Dalben Center.
“We needed a game like that,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “It was a good, competitive basketball game. I thought Tracy played well and their defense was pretty good.”
East Union’s defense was just better. The hot hand for Tracy (1-4) belonged to Toni Harrison, who finished with a game-high 18 points and six steals while drilling three of the Bulldogs’ seven 3-pointers. She was held to just two points in the final quarter.
Harrison buried her first two 3s of the game, but East Union led 14-13 after the first quarter despite committing eight turnovers. The Lancers took control by varying their defensive looks throughout and dominating the glass, 41-17. Tracy had just seven defensive rebounds against East Union’s 10 on offense. A 14-for-15 effort from the free-throw line also helped EU’s cause.
East Union (4-0) was ahead 29-22 at halftime, and Ruby Daube’s transition layup with 6:48 left in the third quarter gave the Lancers their first double-digit lead at 35-24. Tracy answered with a 7-0 run powered by Harrison, who accounted for five of those points in a 30-second span.
The Lancers put the visitors away for good late in the fourth, closing with a 6-0 rally in the final 2:08.
“We just kept playing defense,” East Union’s Olivia Vezaldenos said. “Eventually we were able to stop them. This year we’re focusing a lot on switching up defenses — some 1-3-1, 1-2-2 traps and 2-3. That helped slow them down.”
There was no slowing down Vezaldenos and the rest of the Lancers. She was one of three East Union players in double figures with 16 points. The third-year junior point guard also had eight assists, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Daube poured in 12 of her 17 points in the second half while adding six rebounds and five steals. Anna Wood also fired 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. The 5-foot-10 Wood helped offset Tracy’s sizzling start by scoring eight points in the opening quarter, including the Lancers’ first three buckets off nice entry feeds from Vezaldenos.
“She’s been working hard in practice and she has great hands, too,” Vezaldenos said of Wood. “It makes it a lot easier to pass it to her knowing she can catch and shoot it. It takes a lot of pressure off me.”
East Union 64, Tracy 31
The Squires had four players in double figures and improved to 6-1 on the season.
Dejohna Pryor and Faith Stofferahn each pumped in 11 points, while Kianna Ahlstrom and Haley Gosney added 10 apiece.