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Lathrop stomps Downey
GBSK--Downey-Lathrop pic 1
Desiree Mendola (14) dishes it to Lathrop teammate Lauren Collins after stealing the ball away from Downeys Sierra Wilson (11). - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

LATHROP — Lathrop High’s girls basketball team deserved a little break in what has been a rigged a pre-league schedule so far.

On Wednesday, the Spartans drubbed winless Downey of Modesto, 54-16, getting 21 points and 18 rebounds from 5-foot-9 center Loreal Taylor.

Lathrop held the Knights (0-7) to a single point in the opening quarter, used a 14-0 run in the second to further widen the gap and allowed just two points in the fourth. Downey’s point total is a season low.

While Lathrop did play good defense, forcing 26 turnovers, Downey had many clean looks at the basket but couldn’t get on a roll. The Knights didn’t score until Sierra Wilson banked in a free throw with a minute to go in the first quarter after Lathrop was whistled for a technical foul.

“There were a couple of games that we could have and should have had, so we’ll take the win,” Lathrop coach Ed Fang said.

Lathrop improved to 2-4, a record that may be deceiving considering that three of its losses were to winning programs, and the Spartans were competitive in two of them. Its latest was a 41-40 defeat to Division I Pitman in the consolation final of the 7th Annual Linden Lady Lions Invitational.

“It’s nice to get a game like this because we got to use our substitute players and saw what they could do in a situation where they are put in a spot,” Fang said.

One of those reserves was Regina Juarez, who chipped in eight points. Another was Asianya Jones, who pulled down nine rebounds (seven on offense) and collected five steals. Starting wing forward Desiree Mendola added 12 points, five rebounds and eight steals.

The victory did come at a cost for Lathrop, which may lose starting post player Taylor Conley for an extended period. She hit the floor hard after receiving contact from Alexis Razo while attempting a shot in the paint. No foul was called. Fang said Conley injured her right knee, which was already supported by a brace.

“We think she may have dislocated her kneecap,” Fang said. “She had the same injury at the end of last year. We’ll find out later on tonight. Hopefully it’s just that because that’s something she can recover from.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Lathrop on Friday when it heads to Jackson to face Argonaut, a team that won 30 games and advanced to the second round of the CIF Regional Championships last season.

“We want to see teams that will screen us hard, play with a lot of hustle and discipline,” Fang said. “We hope to compete Friday night. If we play our game we think we can win.”

East Union 54, Atwater 39

The Lancers (3-2) showed no ill effects from playing just the night before, jumping out to a 22-8 first-quarter lead and coasting from there behind a stifling defensive effort.

Victoria Vezaldenos and Anna Wood each scored 12 points. Freshman Ruby Dauby turned in 11, and sophomore point guard Olivia Vezaldenos contributed 10 points, six steals and four assists.

Weston Ranch 47,
Livingston 40

Short-handed Weston Ranch (5-2) grinded out a tough win on the road despite a cold-shooting night. The Cougars converted just 6 of 22 free throws and were 16 of 62 from the field.

Elisabeth Alexander finished with 13 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Alayah Thomas chimed in with 11 points.


East Union 40, Atwater 29

The Squires improved to 7-1 behind Marcella Salyer’s 16 points and six rebounds.

Alissa Burrola (six points, four steals) and Jordyn Posz (five points, five rebounds) were other notable contributors for East Union.