LATHROP — Lathrop’s girls basketball team took care of business in the Western Athletic Conference finale, disposing of visiting Johansen on Thursday, 67-28.
The Spartans, as a result, finished as co-league champions with Beyer. The two teams split in the regular season and will square off again today at Lathrop starting 7 p.m. to decide which team will earn the higher seed in the next week's Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
"We still came to play (against Johansen)," said Spartans coach Dwayne Davis, who was aware of the possible one-game playoff. "We played our bench enough to know there's not much of a drop-off when we make our substitutions."
Prior to the game, he recognized Kaysey Matela, Ayon Carter, Mary Cotton, Kryshara Gary, Avleen Kaur, and Eghosa Ogbeide during the special Senior Night festivities.
"Most of these seniors also played on that freshman championship team of a few years ago," Davis said.
Add Valley Oak League crown and co-WAC title to that list of accomplishments for this senior group, which was part of last year’s co-championship in the VOL. Lathrop is in its first season in the WAC.
The Spartans (13-1, 20-6) wasted little time in jumping out to a sizeable lead against Johansen (7-7, 14-9). No surprise, they employed their pressure defense led by Ayon Carter, who had six of her nine steals in that opening quarter while helping her team surge out to an 18-5 advantage.
"They did what I asked them to do," Davis said. "We backed off after we the things well under control and worked on our half court sets."
The Spartans took an already comfortable 33-13 halftime lead and built that up to a huge 55-15 advantage.
Matela and Cotton both opened the second half with 3s and Carter turned a theft to a quick two.
Matela netted seven of her game-high 17 points in the quarter. Carter added 11 and junior Khiya Thornton finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five steals.
Cotton chipped in with nine points, three steals and three boards while Gary had four rebounds and three steals.
Lathrop had such a sizeable lead at one point that the fourth quarter consisted of a running clock.
Koleka Felt was Johansen's top scorer with eight points. Jodene Roach grabbed had nine rebounds.
Johansen 33, Lathrop 25
Crisps Balesteros scored 13 points in the Spartans loss to the Vikings in the season finale.
Lathrop 38, Johansen 37
The Spartans concluded their season with a 11-0 mark along with the WAC title. The perfect record was in jeopardy with the Vikings needing a 3 for the tie.
"They got a two, instead, with three seconds left," said Lathrop coach Chris Wiseman.
Jayna Dizon and Luna Gedde led the Spartans with 12 points apiece.