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Lathrop ends preseason 7-5, VOL play next

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POSTED January 5, 2014 11:31 p.m.

The Lathrop High boys basketball team wrapped up its preseason Saturday with a 69-54 consolation championship loss at the Rocklin Holiday Classic against Whitney.

Senior guard Nilo Yuson tallied nine points for the Spartans (7-5) —who are slated to open Valley Oak League play Tuesday night at Manteca  —  and was named to the All-Tournament team. Fellow senior Nicholaus Obazuaye finished with a team-high 17 points.

Lathrop didn’t have an answer for junior big man Collin Hawkins of Whitney (11-6), who shot 13 of 21 from the field and dropped 30 points.

“(Whitney) is a solid ball club,” Lathrop head coach Nate McGrath said. “Lodi was probably our best game of the year (Friday) where everything just clicked. We didn’t play bad, (Whitney) just had size that we couldn’t deal with.

“(Hawkins) traveled behind the arc and (shot) a couple 3s. It was hard to deal with somebody that big that can play inside and the perimeter as well as he did.”

Lathrop trailed 20-8 after the opening quarter and outscored the Wildcats by one in the second to make it 39-28 at the half.

Lathrop senior post player Eric Spencer finished with 13 points and junior Isaiah Ellis 11.

“Everyone chipped in equally, so that was nice,” McGrath concluded. “It was the first four minutes where we lost the ball game. Considering Rocklin beat us by 30 (on Thursday) and Whitney beat Rocklin (on Friday), it was nice that we didn’t fold. I was proud of the kids to stay with the game plan and keep battling other than those first four minutes.

“VOL opens up at Manteca, and they’re going to be tough.”

Whitney’s Daniel Jones and Kyle Creighton combined for 21.

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