STOCKTON — Lathrop fell behind to start the game Thursday, but the Spartans did not say there for long.
Chavez of Stockton scored the first basket in opening-round action of the Tony Contreras Delta Queen Classic, and then the blitzing defense of Lathrop took over as the Spartans closed out the first quarter on a 16-0 run on the way to a 61-25 thumping at Stagg High School.
“They are so jumping at the bit to play and that is what I love about them,” Lathrop coach Dwayne Davis said. “But they came out a little too hyped up and a little too excited. We were throwing the ball around and I almost didn’t recognize us.
“We settled down, got into what we do and that’s defense. And once we get up on you and we defend you, that generates offense for us.”
And defend the Spartans (3-0) did. Lathrop made a whopping 36 steals and forced 45 turnovers.
Leading the charge at both ends of the court for the Spartans by nearly getting a triple double was leading scorer Mary Cotton with 10 rebounds, nine steals and 21 points that nearly outscored the Titans (2-4).
“I just played how I play,” Cotton said. “I just played ball.”
Myani Thornton had 11 points and five steals for Lathrop.
“Our defense was good but we still have to work on it,” Thornton said. “Even thought we did good, it’s the little things.”
Defense was a team effort for Lathrop. Danya Phillips (seven points) had six rebounds and six steals and Gurveen Bal added six rebounds. Kasey Matela chipped in nine points.
Danaya Murray led Chavez with seven points.
The Spartans advance to the semifinals and take on Edison of Stockton this evening at 6:30. The Vikings pounded Livingston 73-30 in opening-round action on Thursday.