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GIRLS HOOPS: Lathrop prevails in battle of unbeatens at Stagg
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STOCKTON — Lathrop High girls took care of previously-unbeaten Laguna Creek in Friday's semifinal game of the Tony Contreras Delta Queen Classic at Stagg High.
The Spartans fought off the pesky Cardinals of the Metropolitan Conference by going on a 16-6 run in the second. By the third, their defense limited Laguna Creek to a pair of field goal en route to a 65-40 win.
"Pressure (defense) doesn't really bother us," said Lathrop coach Dwayne Davis, whose team will defend its tournament title against Edison in today's 6:30 p.m. final. "Our five guards and even our bigs do a good job (against the press)."
The team catalyst Mary Cotton, an all-around 6-1 senior, took care of matters on both ends of the court despite being in foul trouble. She tallied 11 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals and two blocks.
"Mary is a five-tool player who is totally unselfish," Davis said.
Freshman guard Kiersten Constantino netted 10 of her team-high 13 points in the first half, while senior guard Kaysey Matela hits several big 3s in the third as Lathrop (4-0) pulled away, finishing with 12 points.
Senior forward Kryshara Gary was a force under the board, coming away with eight rebounds.
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead, getting 3s from Matela, Cotton and Constantino. Ayon Carter found Gary inside for lay-in, making 15-7 at that point.
Laguna Creek (5-1) of Elk Grove, led by former Manteca High coach Cody Norman, took advantage of some cold shooting by Lathrop to pull to within two early in the second, 19-17.
But then Jasmine Denning had an and-one basket, Khiya Thornton hit a quick two, and Cotton connected on a pair of free throws, upping the Spartans' lead, 26-17.
Lathrop closed out the half by going on 9-2 run. Matela ignited it with a steal and feed to Carter for two. Constantino closed it out by drilling a trey, providing her team with a 35-23 halftime advantage.
The Spartans' defense put the clamps on the Cardinals.
Ahead 50-31 at the start of the final quarter, Lathrop had all but put the game on ice.
Laguna Creek, who was led by Ahrray Young's game-high 14 points, will take on Livingston in the third-place game.