State

East Union girls are still perfect

SONORA -- An anticipated matchup pitting the Valley Oak League's top long-range gunners started with a bang when Sonora High's Kelli Keefe hit her opening salvo.

When Ashley Rose fired in a 3-pointer of her own, it appeared that the battle was on.

But it quickly become a one-sided affair, thanks to Rose.

The East Union senior held up her end, hitting five treys, and made sure Keefe suffered through a miserable night.

When it was over, the Lancers were celebrating a 49-31 victory over the Wildcats to remain the Stanislaus District's only unbeaten -- boys or girls.

"We wanted their guards to put the ball on the floor before shooting," said EU coach Jim Agostini, whose club allowed just one trey on 12 attempts. "If you let them sit on the outside and shoot, they're capable of beating you with their threes."

Keefe never got in rhythm, hitting 1 of 8 3-point attempts and 3 of 17 shots overall. She hit 8 of 10 treys in Tuesday's win over Sierra.

Rose, meanwhile, hit 5 of 10 treys and scored 19 points.

"She also got there and was putting a hand in Keefe's face when the ball arrived," Agostini said. "We knew if we sat back in zone, it was trouble."

Rose's second trey snapped a 9-9 tie late in the first quarter, giving EU (15-0, 2-0) a lead it would never relinquish.

When Sonora (8-7, 2-0) tried to rally in the third quarter, Rose delivered another trey.

Rather than attack the basket on a fast break, she lagged behind and positioned herself on the wing. When the defense raced past Rose, Rachel McDaniel (13 points) whipped a pass back to her teammate and watched as Rose nailed a 21-footer for a 33-23 lead.

"Ashley was a strong shooter last year, but we talked about making her game more complete," Agostini said. "She's done it, making herself a better ballhandler and a defender."

If there was a flaw in EU's game, though, it was its game-long struggle to get the ball upcourt against Sonora's aggressive press.

With 6-foot-2-inch Raven Anderson's long arms threatening the inbounds pass, and Alison Perry and Keefe lunging at every pass, EU committed a season-high 21 turnovers.

"It's a gambling press and Sonora runs it very well," said Agostini, whose Lancers are No. 1 in The Bee's large-school rankings. "To come up here and win, that's a big deal for us."

Sonora snapped EU's 23-game league winning streak a year ago on the same court. The No. 5 Wildcats were long shots to duplicate the feat, since two of their 6-foot post players are sidelined with season-ending injuries.

Bee staff writer Richard T. Estrada can be reached at restrada@modbee.com or 578-2300

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