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GIRLS HOOPS: Shorthanded Spartans stomp Beyer in pivotal WAC contest
Bulletin girls basketball 2018-19
Lathrop's Khiya Thornton drives between Symeria James (22) and Janessa Thomason (33) of visiting Beyer on Thursday. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

LATHROP — The best laid plans.
With Lathrop standout Mary Cotton out with an ankle sprain and other players ill, Spartans coach Dwayne Davis had to go back to the drawing board — literally — and devise a new game plan.
It took a while, but behind the hot hands of Khiya Thornton and Ayon Carter Lathrop finally found a rhythm Thursday and pulled away in the second half for a 62-39 Western Athletic Conference win over visiting Beyer in this battle between league champions.
Lathrop claimed a share of the Valley Oak League title last season before moving into the WAC, while Beyer earned a co-championship in the now-defunct Modesto Metro Conference.
“We realized everything we had planned on in practice we couldn’t do,” Spartans coach Dwayne Davis said. “Mary Cotton wasn’t there and I have several players who are sick, so I had to put a whole new game plan on the blackboard before the game. We went to a zone and we hadn’t played zone all year. The second half the girls got aggressive and took over.
“We got Ayon (Carter) near the free-throw line and she can rise up and shoot or pass from there. Normally we work something with her and Cotton but with Mary gone Ayon did well. Actually, everybody got a chance to play and they all performed and I am really happy about that.”
Thornton (eight rebounds, two assists) led the resurgence for Lathrop (3-0, 8-3 overall) which trailed 23-22 at halftime. Thornton erupted for 12 of her 24 points in the third quarter and once the Spartans got going there was no stopping them. They outscored the Patriots (2-1, 7-4) 40-16 in the second half. Thornton also canned buzzer beaters at the end of the first and third periods.
“In the beginning of the game we were kind of struggling a bit,” Thornton said. “It was our first time running a zone and we had to figure out where to go, what do to and help each other through the zone.
“In the third quarter I needed to help the team regardless of what the score was. We had to pull through.”
Carter tallied 17 points along with seven rebounds and six assists.
“We were missing Mary (Cotton) tonight,” Carter said. “We have to make sure she is ready for San Diego.
“We had to step in and everyone had to do their part.”
Kiersten Constantino added 10 points for Lathrop and Ephosa Ogbeide pulled down eight rebounds.
Alicia Jones led Beyer with 14 points.
The Spartans travel to San Diego on Wednesday to face Hueneme of Oxnard in the Southern California Hoop Classic.
Junior Varsity
Lathrop 44, Beyer 32

Crispa Mae Ballesteros led the Spartans with 10 points and Hailey Hunter added eight points.