MANTECA — A young East Union team (19-8) validated its late-season run by rallying from a seven-point deficit in the final five minutes to eliminate Placer (14-13) 53-49 at Dalben Center.
Olivia Vezaldenos hit an off-balance 12-footer with 1:21 left to put East Union, winner of 11 of its last 13, ahead to stay.
Two timely defensive stops, followed by two free throws by Marina Salyer with 2.9 seconds left, clinched it.
“To come from a 1-4 start (in the Valley Oak League) to a first-round win was a big mountain,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “But it was a fun climb.”
Freshman post Loretta Kakala paced East Union with 17 points. Vezaldenos, a sophomore, had 13 points and freshman Ruby Dauby finished with 11 points.
Bailey Vanderdoes, a sophomore, was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points.
East Union bothered Placer with a full-court press late in the game and hit 14 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.
PATTERSON 64, BENICIA 21 in Patterson – The third-seeded Tigers (24-4) cruised into a Division 3, second-round matchup against No. 6 Weston Ranch on Thursday.
Senior point guard Jovanah Arrington led Patterson with 17 points, while Povai Fesili and Mele Tupouata chipped in with 11 apiece.
GUSTINE 53, BIG VALLEY CHRISTIAN 44 in Gustine – Sujey Luna scored a game-high 17 points as the Redskins ended Big Valley Christian’s season and advanced to a second-round date with No. 2 Capital Christian (Sacramento).
The Lions (14-12) were paced by Monika Russell’s 15 and 10 rebounds. Teammates Brenna Reece and Cassie Veneman scored 12 apiece.
TURLOCK CHRISTIAN 60, STOCKTON CHRISTIAN 46 in Turlock – The Eagles (19-9) allowed just three Stockton Christian players to score, and advanced to a Division 6 second-round matchup against No. 2 Sacramento Adventist on Thursday.
Meghan Mark led TC with 14 points while Aimee Jones and Cassie Balswick added 12 each.
The Eagles made 28 field goals in the contest to just 10 for SC, but made only four of 16 free-throw attempts.