Vince Fauria’s last-second three-pointer sailed toward the basket, carrying with it the appearance of everything Oakdale High desperately wanted in light of a three-point deficit against host East Union.
But the shot rimmed-out, granting the Lancers an exciting 44-41 Homecoming win and leaving Oakdale short of a Valley Oak League win in back-to-back contests.
Oakdale (10-5 overall, 1-3 VOL) will be in dire need of a victory today, Jan. 19, when it hosts Manteca (5-10, 2-2).
“(We) battled tough vs. EU on their Homecoming,” Oakdale coach Jeremy Fields said. “The Achilles heel was the free throw line in the second half.”
Oakdale was just 4-of-14 from the foul line, most of those misses coming on the only shot of 1-and-1 situations after East Union fouled while in bonus.
Oakdale trailed 26-23 at the half and were down by as much as 10 in the third, but fired back with a 10-0 rally to tie things up. The Mustangs failed to convert on four straight possessions to take the lead in the fourth, and watched the Lancers snag a three-point lead with nine seconds to play.
Fauria popped up with a good look jump shot in the final moments, but the shot failed to drop through the net.
Vince Thompson and Blake Thompson (no relation) both paced Oakdale with 12 points in the narrow loss. Jake Martinez chipped in nine while Marcus Hernandez added four and Fauria two. Nathan Van Ryn and Justin Martinez dropped in a free throw each.
Oakdale had tested undefeated league frontrunner, Sierra (13-3, 4-0) on Jan. 12, but fell short, the final score reading 58-48 in favor of the Timberwolves.
If Oakdale can win their next four games against the only VOL teams to sport losing records (a combined 20-39) they will still be in good position to challenge for a top-three VOL finish and seed into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings. The first SJS ratings release is scheduled for Jan. 29, with two to follow in early February.
No information was available for the JV or freshman Mustang squads.