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Lathrop falls in Sonora
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Finishing games has been a problem for Lathrop High’s boys basketball team this season.

On Friday, jump starting the offense early was the issue in a 59-43 loss to host Sonora, which was without returning all-Valley Oak League standout Alex Kiriluk.

The Spartans (0-8, 2-16 overall) had just two points in the first quarter and trailed 27-9 at halftime.

“We came out flat, and our best scorers were really cold at the start of the game,” Lathrop coach J.J. Ramirez said. “In the second half we put a little more pressure on them and started playing at our tempo and finally made some shots, but it was too late.”

Lathrop was led by Marcus Conley’s 14 points and got 11 more from Robert Orentes. Ricky Chavez and Shamit Kishore added eight apiece.

Sonora (5-3, 10-9) had little trouble establishing its game at the start despite not having the 6-foot-4 Kiriluk in the lineup for a second straight contest. The Wildcats still dominated the paint with their superior height, and guard Jack Gardella made up for Kiriluk’s absence offensively.

Gardella finished with 21 points and hit five 3-pointers.

“He was on fire tonight,” Ramirez said.