Despite a strong start, the Oakdale Mustang varsity boys basketball team went down to defeat, 60-49, to the East Union Lancers in the Mustang Arena on Friday, Jan. 21.
Playing without senior starters Jake Kettering (quarantine) and Jackson Holt (injury), the Mustangs came out firing in the first quarter with senior Landon Nunes burning the nets for two three-pointers and a lay in within the first four minutes of play. Complemented by two tough inside buckets by senior Nate Criswell, the Mustangs forged an early 12-4 lead. East Union responded, however, with three-point baskets by Anthony Sy, Alex Cuevas and Dylan Lee in the second four minutes of the opening stanza to knot the score at 12 as the clock ran out.
The visiting Lancers, under head coach and Oakdale resident Charles Legan, used a stingy defense, forceful rebounding, and slick outside shooting to outscore the Mustangs 18-6 in the second quarter to take a 30-18 lead at the end of the first half.
Interestingly, the officiating crew only whistled two fouls on each team in the first half of play. The zebra stripers more than made up for that fact in the second half when they assessed 12 fouls on Oakdale and five on East Union. The Mustangs had a few spurts of life in the second half; however, without 6-5 center Holt, Lancer forwards Bryan Howe and Dylan Lee tended to have their way with rebounds that were complemented by accurate outside shooting by Cuevas and Lee. With about four minutes left in the game, the Mustangs, led by Nunes (five second half points), Johnathan Kraude (nine second half points), Charles Cripe (five second half points), Jayden Coelho (three second half points), and Criswell (nine second half points) made a run highlighted by excellent back court defense, lay-ins, and outside shooting to cut the Lancer lead to nine points. At that point, however, the Mustangs were forced to foul in hopes of getting back the ball.
The Lancers, however, were in the double bonus situation and Lee and Cuevas were able to convert their free throws to take the lead to 11 points and preserve the 60-49 win.
Criswell had 17 points on the night to lead the Oakdale squad while Nunes had 13 and Kraude chipped in with nine.
The varsity boys were also on the road for a couple of games, falling by a 62-58 decision in a hard fought contest at Central Catholic on Jan. 19. Oakdale had a 26-23 lead at the half but was outscored by the host Raiders 39-32 over the final two quarters and took the loss. Sophomore Coelho knocked down six treys and paced the team with 20 points; Criswell had 19 and Kraude chipped in with 12. Junior Niko Klose had eight rebounds.
At Manteca in a Monday, Jan. 24 game, the Mustangs fell by a 61-39 final.
Both of the lower level teams went 1-2 in their most recent games.
Oakdale’s JV boys picked up a 47-37 win against East Union on the home court on Jan. 21, the win sandwiched in between losses, 32-18 to Central Catholic on Jan. 19 and 66-35 to Manteca on Jan. 24.
For the freshmen, they lost to Central Catholic, 41-36 on Jan. 19, came back with a home win, 36-35, over East Union on Jan. 21 and fell at Manteca in a Jan. 24 game, 75-32.
The Mustangs’ only home action the week of Jan. 24 through 28 will be the Winter Homecoming game on Friday, Jan. 28, against the Jaguars of Kimball High School. Between the junior varsity game and the varsity game, around 7:15 p.m., the Mustang Leadership class will conduct the traditional Homecoming festivities by introducing the prince and princess candidates from the Class of 2025, and the king and queen candidates from the Class of 2023 and then crowning the 2022 Winter Homecoming royalty.
Lady Mustangs Basketball
The varsity Oakdale Lady Mustangs led from the opening jump ball to the final buzzer in defeating the Central Catholic Lady Raiders 45-41 on Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Mustang Arena. The game evolved into a defensive battle marked by hard play around the hoop. Sophomore Brooke Wheat paced the Mustangs in the first half with eight points, complemented by five points from senior Victoria Cadwell. Slick shooting by the Raiders’ Peyton Garrett kept the game close as the first half ended with the host Lady Mustangs clinging to a 21-19 lead.
Things got even more physical in the third quarter as the Raiders and the Mustangs were whistled for 11 and 13 fouls respectively. In the last two minutes of the third period the Mustangs, led by the inside play of six-foot freshman Anika Garrett and a three-point shot by sophomore Elizabeth Webb, went on an eight-point run to take a 34-24 lead at the end of the stanza. Central Catholic rallied in the fourth period led by senior Cora Grover and junior Janida Garcia to narrow the score to just a two-point deficit. Then, with both teams in the double bonus situation, senior Aidyn Hill and Garrett converted three free throws apiece in the final two minutes to seal the victory for the Lady Mustangs.
Throughout the game, the height of Garrett and fellow freshman 6 foot, 3 inch Samantha Powell seemed to stymie Raider inside shot attempts and led to the rebound advantage enjoyed by the Mustangs. Garrett had a team high 12 points in the win; Wheat had eight and Cadwell added seven.
The road was not as friendly a place for the team, as they traveled to East Union on Thursday, Jan. 20 and came up short in a 51-22 decision. The host Lady Lancers roared out to a 13-2 edge in the first quarter and contained the Oakdale shooters, leading by an overwhelming 27-5 margin at half. They continued to pour it on with an 18-5 edge in the third to lead 45-10 after three; Oakdale fought in the fourth and had a 12-6 scoring advantage but the game was already well in hand for the host East Union team. The girls were also on the road for a Monday, Jan. 24 game and lost at Weston Ranch, 48-36.
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Lady Mustangs were scheduled to host the Manteca Buffaloes in the Mustang Arena.
The varsity soccer boys put together a solid effort in taking a 5-2 win over Manteca on the road on Wednesday, Jan. 19, with a hat trick by senior Ryan Krause pacing the team. They were home on Friday, Jan. 21 and fell in a hard fought contest to East Union by a single tally, losing 1-0. Back on the home pitch, the boys hosted Kimball on Monday, Jan. 24 and had a two-goal lead at the half, only to give up two in the second half. But they also found the net in the second half and took a 3-2 victory over the Jaguars. Angel Pineda, Joel Gonzalez and Krause notched the goals; Gonzalez added a pair of assists as well.
The JV boys took a pair of losses, falling 5-1 at Manteca and 4-1 to East Union.
For the varsity Lady Mustangs, a trip to Manteca on Jan. 18 saw them shut out by the host Lady Buffaloes, losing by a 6-0 final. They were at home for a contest with Kimball on Thursday, Jan. 20 and lost by a 2-0 decision.
JV girls action saw them lose 2-0 at Manteca and win by a 3-0 final against Kimball.
Coming off “a very slow January” – according to head coach Steve Strange – the Mustang grapplers are preparing as best they can for the upcoming postseason competition.
First up is Saturday, Jan. 29, the Section Dual Championships scheduled at Natomas High School beginning at 9 a.m.
The Valley Oak League championships are Saturday, Feb. 5, hosted at Central Catholic High School at 9 a.m.; followed by Division 3 championships Saturday, Feb. 12, 9 a.m., at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom.
From there, the road continues for qualifying wrestlers, heading to the Masters Tournament at Stockton Arena, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18 and 19. The ultimate goal is to make it to the CIF State Meet in Bakersfield, set for Feb. 24 through 26.