LATHROP — Lathrop finally has a win in what has been a one-sided Battle of I-5 rivalry with Weston Ranch, but it didn’t come easy.
The Spartans needed a late-game run to gain separation from the youthful Cougars and prevail, 67-59.
“I knew Weston Ranch was going to play us hard,” Lathrop coach Craig Ward said. “They’re a scrappy, tough team.”
Weston Ranch (1-3 Valley Oak League, 8-8 overall) had won all 14 previous contests against Lathrop (2-2, 10-7), but it’s back to the drawing board for coach Chris Teevan’s bunch that features two freshmen and two sophomores in the starting lineup. The Cougars captured the VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III titles last year with a senior-heavy roster.
The more experienced Spartans got it done in crunch time. With Lathrop nursing a 51-50 lead in the fourth quarter, senior center Adonis Payton converted on back-to-back layups and was followed by another lay-in from Michael Mills. Junior Ballard punctuated the barrage with two layups.
Ballard led all scorers with 25 points, Mills finished with 17 and Idowu Olaleye added 12. Payton scored all eight of his points in the second half and also had six rebounds in the final two periods.
“Junior did what he does down the stretch, but they all stepped up,” Ward said. “Adonis and Mills were huge for us.”
Miloni Massey, Makhi Turner and Raul Melgarejo each scored 14 points for the Ranch. Freshman point guard Gavin Wilburn pumped in 10.
Sierra 58, Kimball 49
The Timberwolves (2-2, 11-5) started out on a 17-0 run, but visiting Kimball (1-3, 5-12) managed to stay within reach after trailing 22-5 going into the second quarter.
Matthew Oli scored 10 of his team-high 15 points, while Dquan Anthony (10 points) drained three 3s for the Jaguars in the second quarter.
“We played really well in the first quarter and it was as good as we’ve played all year,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “I was a little disappointed in our defensive effort in the second quarter, but we kept grinding and got stops when we needed to.”
Jamille Grady, Bikram Thiara and Victor Elijah posted 11 points apiece to anchor Sierra.
East Union 62, Oakdale 45
The Lancers (3-1, 11-6) built a 38-18 halftime lead and coasted from there at Dalben Center.
Gyse Hulsebosch poured in 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first half. Jesse Anzar contributed 11 points, and PJ Gill had 10. Joseph Lutz spearheaded the Mustangs (0-4, 3-14) with 17 points.
Blake Greenlee nine points
“We started out on a nice run and scored 24 points in the first quarter,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “We did a good job of rebounding and we want to make that a point of emphasis after struggling with that in the last game (against Lathrop). We also executed very well on offense and got good shots.”