SACRAMENTO — Lathrop isn’t flying under the radar anymore.
On Wednesday, the Spartans soared to an 81-78 overtime upset of Clovis North in the quarterfinal round of the St. Hope Elite Hoop Classic Platinum Division at Sacramento High. The Broncos (9-3) galloped into the tournament ranked No. 4 in the Central Section, according to the MaxPreps computer ratings, and reached the CS Division I finals last year.
The Spartans (8-3), meanwhile, are on an eight-game winning streak that includes a one-point overtime win over Oakland in the St. Hope Elite Hoop Classic opener Monday. Standout guard Junior Ballard anchored their latest triumph with 24 points and buried key free throws in the extra period to give Lathrop the edge.
“I’m so proud of the kids for the way they buckled down,” Lathrop coach Craig Ward said. “We missed a gang of layups and shot 7 for 17 on free throws by halftime, but they stepped up their game and buckled down on defense. It was a tight the entire game, but they’re getting that refuse-to-lose attitude that we’ve been trying to get from them since the beginning of the season.”
Adonis Payton aided the cause with 15 points off the bench. Isaias Hunter finished with 11 and Idowu Olaleye had 10.
Starring for Clovis North are 6-foot-5 guard and Pacific Azusa signee Ben Avera and 6-6, 210-pound wing Elijah Straughter.
It won’t get any easier for the Spartans tonight in the semifinals. Awaiting them is one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s best in Burbank (10-1) of Sacramento, which knocked off Westlake of Utah, 65-54. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30. The other semifinal pits Oakland Tech (9-3) and Washington (4-1) of Milwaukee, Wisc.
“We’re going to have a tough opponent tomorrow in Burbank,” Ward said. “They’re very athletic, they get out and they run.”
Sonoma Valley 55
DIXON — Ripon (10-3) defeated Sonoma Valley (6-6) for a second straight year in the Ram Jam Winter Classic semifinals, and the Indians will look to defend their title against tournament host Dixon (11-2) starting 8:15 on Friday night.
The Indians jumped out to a 12-3 lead, but the Dragons stayed within reach throughout thanks to the hot shooting of freshman guard Jay Taylor, who finished with 22 points. Dylan Samaniego added 15 for Sonoma Valley.
Anthony Sisk shined for Ripon, collecting 18 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Paschini chimed in with 15 points and five steals. Noah Hernandez contributed 11 points.
East Union 58,
Golden Valley 48
SONORA — Gyse Hulsebosch and Blake Greenlee gave the Lancers (7-4) a big lift in the second half of their Columbia College opener Wednesday.
Hulsebosch accounted for 13 of East Union’s 22 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 21, while Greenlee — slowed by foul trouble in the first two periods — erupted for all of his 14 points in the second half. Golden Valley (4-8) trailed 36-35 after three quarters.
“We did a much better job of taking care of the ball, executing the offense and taking good shots in the second half,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “Defensively we were pretty consistent. When you hold a team to 48 points you have a chance to win.”
The Lancers square off with Sonora (7-3) tonight at 6:30.
Ripon 47, Gregori 39
The Indians (11-0) prevailed in this battle of unbeatens in the second round of the Block M Tournament at Manteca High.
Dorian Dougherty produced 23 points and eight rebounds to lead the charge. Troy Brogan finished with 16 points and six boards. Nico Ilardi pitched in nine points, six boards and seven assists.