EL DORADO — A close game turned into a blowout for the Union Mine High boys basketball team, as the Diamondbacks fell to the Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack, 72-44, on Monday night at the Snake Pit.
Union Mine and Cosumnes Oaks were tied at 26-26 at halftime in the Sierra Valley Conference contest when the Wolfpack took over in the third quarter. Cosumnes Oaks’ Jaaron Stallworth hit a trey that was followed by teammate and forward Alex Van Dyke, who went coast-to-coast for a lay-up.
But Union Mine (0-5, 9-11) was called for a technical foul, and the Wolfpack converted both free throws to push their lead to 33-26. From there, Cosumnes Oak (5-0, 14-6) went on a seven point run to extend its lead to 40-28.
Union Mine forward Alec Vaughn, who led the Diamondbacks with 14 points, made a hook shot, but the Wolfpack continued to add-on, and led 49-31 that built into a 53-35 lead headed into final quarter.
The Wolfpack continued to add cushion to their lead, 68-39 after a Raymond Gonzalvo three pointer. Austin Russell made a jumper and Tommy Tolman added a pair of free throws for the Diamondbacks, but they couldn’t stop the Wolfpack in the loss.
“They came out in the third quarter and really imposed their will, controlled the ball, and made it tough for us to get into a rhythm,” said Union Mine head coach Mike Verbitsky on Cosumnes Oaks. “They made a couple of shots, and all of a sudden it’s a seven point deficit we’re facing, and we weren’t able to climb back.”
The Diamondbacks started strong, and took an early 8-6 lead after a three pointer from Sam Fleury. Scott McIntyre followed that up with a three of his own that led to Union Mine holding an 11-6 lead with 4:26 remaining in the opening quarter.
But Van Dyke brought the Wolfpack back within one point with two layups, and the visitors took a momentary lead from a LJ Reed put back. After the two teams traded off baskets, a Fluery lay-up with three seconds left in the quarter tied the game up headed into the second at 16-16.
Union Mine jumped out to a five point lead in the second quarter thanks to a Daniel Saich lay-up and three free throws. But the Wolfpack’s Eric Toles re-tied the game when he knocked down a three pointer followed by a jumper. Reed converted a three to give Cosumnes Oaks a 24-21 lead, but McIntyre kept the Diamondbacks in the game.
McIntyre, who scored 12 points on the night, made a jumper to lessen the deficit to one, and tied it up with a free throw. After Jaaron Stallworth put through a lay-up on a fast break, McIntyre drove to the hoop and laid the ball in for an acrobatic bucket with 20 seconds left, and the two teams went to the locker room tied.
“I thought we played well throughout the first half, but when we got down early in the second, we stumbled,” Verbitsky said. “They dominated us on the inside, and we couldn’t get any good shots off.
“We’ve been kind of struggling a little bit, but I think if we compete like we did in the first half, we have a chance in every game. It’s something we can build on.”
Van Dyke led all scorers with 23 points.