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Lathrop blows by Ripon
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LATHROP — The Lathrop High boys varsity basketball team improved to 3-0 after a 68-60 non-league victory over Ripon on Tuesday.

The Spartans were sparked by a 14-0 second-quarter run led by Nicholaus Obazuaye, who hit for a game-high 19 points.

Prior to that, the Indians (0-2) controlled the game, playing tough defense to get Lathrop to settle for outside shots.

Ripon found some success in breaking the Spartan press, getting baskets from Derek Hickman, who led the Indians with 18 points. A few of his shots came in the open court, with freshman guard Cole Stevens finding his 6-foot-5 senior center in transition.

“Once we got into foul trouble, the game changed for us,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “I had to pull some of our guys to save them for later in the game.”

Up 22-13, Lathrop found its stride by driving to the basket.

“We used our speed and athletic ability to make things happen,” Spartans coach Nathan McGrath.

Obazuaye nailed a 3 to kickoff the rally. He also had an assist to Nilo Yuson coupled with a put-back basket. Eric Spencer chipped with four free throws.

Another key for Lathrop was controlling the boards.

Spencer had a double-double, finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds including four on the offensive glass. TJ Conley added 17 points and eight rebounds.

The Spartans led at the break, 27-22.

Early in the third quarter, Lathrop sported its biggest lead, 39-26. Obazuaye not only banked in a trey, but scored on a pass from Conley .

The Indians chipped away and even managed to pull to within three at the beginning of the final period on a Hickman basket.

Baskets by Conley, Obazuaye and Yuson, who finished with 14, down the stretch helped secure the win for Lathrop.

In addition to Hickman, Stevens had 13 while Curtis Azevedo and Chase DePrue netted nine and eight, respectively, for Ripon.

Massimo Robbins hauled in 10 rebounds for the Indians.