The last time East Union and Oakdale got together, the Lancers’ head coach Jim Agostini referred to it as one of the hardest losses the program has experienced, as Oakdale hit a 3-point shot to force overtime and then banked in another trey to win it in the OT session.
On Thursday, East Union came back with a vengeance against the Mustangs (2-6 Valley Oak League, 11-10 overall), who couldn’t compete in the second half, resulting in a 53-34 defeat.
“The first time we played we shot the ball a lot better than we did tonight,” Oakdale head coach Justin Schwitters said. “In the first half, I don’t think we made a jump shot and we missed some layups. In the second half, they played well and obviously shot – and made – a lot of free throws.”
Lancer sophomore Olivia Vezaldenos and freshman Loretta Kakala could have theoretically defeated Oakdale by themselves as they outscored their opponents 35-34.
East Union went 14 of 25 from the line total, but the team’s floor general Vezaldenos went 10 of 12 from the line and finished with 16 points to go with five assists and three steals.
Vezaldenos got to the line consistently, just as she was steady in frustrating Oakdale’s defenders. The Mustangs’ point guard Christina Cobarruvias and their best on-ball defender Alyssa Freeman (six points) both picked up three fouls early in the first half. Both players ended up fouling out in the fourth quarter, and Freeman’s final foul was a technical.
Oakdale’s technical put Vezaldenos on the line three times in 11 seconds, where she converted 4 of 6 and helped stretch her squad’s lead to 48-26 late.
After the Lancers led 14-6 after the opening quarter, they outscored Oakdale 8-5 in the second and took a 22-11 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, after Oakdale cut its deficit to eight, East Union went on a 9-0 run which included a 3-ball from Ruby Dauby. EU stretched its lead to 17 and went into the fourth ahead 37-24.
Oakdale’s Micaela Maaske finished with a team-high 10 points and 12 rebounds before exiting in the middle of the third quarter with a bruised knee.
At the JV level, East Union took a 54-29 win while the Oakdale freshmen picked up a 25-17 victory, using a 15-7 lead at the half to make the difference as the teams matched point for point, 10-10, over the final two quarters.
Earlier in the week, the varsity girls lost a 51-39 decision on the road at Manteca, taking on the Buffaloes on Jan. 28.
“Maddie Hackbarth and Christina Cobarruvias led us in scoring with 11 points each,” said Schwitters. “Pretty sloppy game all the way around on Tuesday at Manteca. We had a lot of unforced errors that led to turnovers and missed a lot of easy bucket opportunities.”
Key to improving, the coach said, is limiting the opportunities they are giving to their opponents.
“A lot of foul trouble really plagued us both games last week,” Schwitters agreed. “We have to learn to avoid early unnecessary fouls. As for East Union, they just flat outplayed us. They shot better than us, outrebounded us, and in general made fewer mistakes than us.
“Hopefully we can bounce back this week.”
The girls, who play four of their final six games at home, were scheduled to host Sierra on Tuesday, after The Leader went to press, and travel to Weston Ranch to take on the Cougars on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Leader editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.