SAN ANDREAS — Lathrop High’s girls basketball team played in its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game on Tuesday, and the youth-laden Spartans played like it at the start.
Calaveras, the No. 7 seed in the Division IV bracket, jumped out to a 9-2 lead before Lathrop coach Dwayne Davis called a timeout.
“With them being so young and new to the experience, when we got there it was like, ‘Wow, we’re actually in the playoffs. It’s here,’” Davis said. “I think that’s when it hit them.”
By the end it was the Redskins left wondering what hit them, as No. 10 Lathrop came back to grind out a historic 43-37 victory. Davis credited assistant coach Danielle Wiseman for pointing out the Spartans’ early lethargy, and they made two adjustments that change the complexion of the game.
“We switched to what we call our ‘flex zone’ and ran it for the rest of the game,” Davis said. “It totally confused them because they couldn’t get their shot off.”
Lathrop (15-10) led 21-19 at halftime. Semajynique Steen paced the Spartans with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Myani Thornton added 10 points and four assists. Danya Phillips poured in eight points, 12 rebounds, six steals and three blocks.
Brookelyn Larkin scored 10 points to lead Calaveras (21-4).
Another key tweak in the game plan was inserting versatile lower-level call-up Mary Cotton into the center spot. The 5-foot-10 freshman actually started the season on the varsity squad.
Although Cotton scored all of her points on a 3-pointer, she forced Calaveras’ center to guard her on the perimeter which opened up lanes in the paint. Cotton also grabbed eight rebounds.
“She was able to dictate a lot of the action,” Davis said of Cotton. “She was able to move the ball around and see over their guards, and drive around their post players. She changed the tempo today, and I think that surprised them.”
Lathrop expects a stiffer challenge Thursday when it heads to Sacramento to face second-seeded West Campus (22-6). The Warriors throttled Orestimba 86-28 in its opener.
“It’s another proud stepping stone for my girls but we’re not satisfied,” Davis said. “We want to show we’re here to play.”