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Downey blows past Lathrop with second-half surge

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Downey blows past Lathrop with second-half surge

Lathrop guard Mikey Pereznegron beats Downey’s P.J. Wilson off the dribble.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 20, 2012 12:23 a.m.

TRACY — Lathrop High was in good shape leading Downey 17-4 early in the second quarter of their Tracy/West Winter Holiday Classic contest.

That was before depth became an issue for the already-shorthanded Spartans, who were missing guard Gustavo Contreras to a finger injury. Three starters had trouble in the first half, and Lathrop struggled on the offensive end for the remainder of the game en route to a 48-37 loss.

Downey will face Livingston for the consolation championship at 1:30 p.m. today at West High. Lathrop takes on fellow Manteca Unified school Manteca High at noon for 11th place.

“We never got into a rhythm,” Lathrop coach Bill Slikker said. “We had a good rhythm in the first quarter but we got into foul trouble. If you take one guy out of our rotation it just kills us. We still had the lead going into half … (but) we had to play a little cautiously.”

Lathrop (4-7) did well to keep its lead at 23-17 by halftime with its top ball handler (Robert Orantes), best post player (T.J. Conley) and top wing (Isaiah Ellis) on the bench.

The difference early in the third quarter was Lathrop’s inability to produce against Downey’s 2-3 zone. The Knights charged out of the break with an 8-2 run that tied it at 25-all. Mikey Pereznegron answered for Lathrop with one of his three 3-pointers, but Downey took over from there as the Spartans failed to convert a field goal over the next 4 minutes, 15 seconds.

“We never passed it into the post — never looked at it,” Slikker said of facing Downey’s zone defense. “T.J. I thought was open a lot of times in the block and we just didn’t give him the ball, and when we did it was a bad pass.”

Lathrop was outscored 16-6 in the third quarter and 15-8 in the fourth. Orantes’ acrobatic layup represented its final field goal with 2 minutes left in the contest. Downey, meanwhile, ended the game with an 8-0 run.

Ellis, a promising 6-foot-2 sophomore, led Lathrop with 12 points. Pereznegron added nine, and Orantes settled for seven but dished out seven assists. Eric Spencer put forth a nice effort off the bench, producing six points, nine rebounds and six blocks. Five of those blocks came in the second quarter.

Downey was spearheaded by Herman Harris’ 15 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.

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