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Rose scores 34 as EU clinches outright title
East Union’s Ashley Rose pulls up for the short jumper in front of Manteca’s Davina Bennett, Sharon Washington (14) and Cynthia Perez (15). - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
If it’s truly lonely at the top, East Union isn’t going to mind one bit.
Not after what happened last year.
The Lancers secured the outright Valley Oak League championship Thursday at crosstown rival Manteca’s Winter Gym, coasting to a 70-44 victory behind Ashley Rose’s career-high 34 points. Standout freshman forward Shalane Jackson also sparked East Union, finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.
The regular-season finale was set up like last year’s, with East Union a game up on Sonora and a piece of the title already clinched by the Lancers.
But Manteca shocked them, 41-39, at home, forcing a two-way share of the VOL title and causing them to slide down to the 11th seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs while clinching its own postseason berth.
Thursday’s victory renders Sonora’s 62-49 win over Oakdale moot.
“We didn’t cut down the nets (after clinching a share of the title) like we did last year, we didn’t celebrate,” Rose said. “We knew we had one more game and we were going into it playing like it was our last game.”
Rose certainly did her part.
With reigning MVP and Cal Baptist University-bound Rachel McDaniel tagged with her second foul just two minutes into the contest, Rose carried the load offensively in the first half.
Rose scored 15 of her 23 points in the second quarter and had more points than Manteca did as a team at halftime. The Lancers were well ahead 39-18 at the break. Rose, in fact, matched Manteca’s point total of 30 after three quarters.
“Our goal was to contain McDaniel and Rose,” Manteca coach Andrea Hiatt said. “We were going to allow them to score 12 points each, and everything after that they had to earn. We did a pretty good job on Rachel, but Ashley more than made up for it.”
McDaniel hardly played in the first half because of the foul trouble but still managed to finish with 10 points.
Sophomore guard Sharon Washington led Manteca (4-10, 11-16 overall) with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Morgan Salsedo, one of three Buffaloes honored on Senior Night, added 10 points.
East Union (12-2, 25-2) entered the week seeded sixth according to the section’s Division III playoff power ratings. The section will unveil the final brackets Sunday online at
After suffering two upset losses in league, the Lancers have been on top of their game, winning their final five contests by over 20 points each.
 “We kind of sputtered in the middle of the year, and you want to be playing your best ball at the end of the year,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “I was worried that we weren’t doing that, but the last three or four games we got pretty good. And tonight, the girls were magnificent.”