LATHROP – The Lathrop boys basketball team pulled off its biggest win of the year, shocking visiting East Union Tuesday in overtime, 62-56.
Robert Orantes and Isaiah Ellis led the way with 18 and 13 points, respectively, for Lathrop. Mikey Pereznegron chipped in 12 in the Valley Oak League affair.
“This was a matter of everybody knowing and doing their job,” said Spartans coach Bill Slikker. “It was a good team win.”
Lathrop (1-2, 4-9) had to overcome The Jordan Kron Show.
The 5-foot, 9-inch senior guard was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half, netting 23 of his game-high 34 points. He was also 10 for 10 from the free throw line during that span.
Down by 10 in the fourth, Kron single-handedly brought East Union back with 17 down the stretch, driving strong to hoop on four occasions. His bucket with 1 minute, 14 seconds left made tied the game at 50.
Both teams had several opportunities in the final minute to go ahead only to come away empty handed.
“We could’ve folded back then but we didn’t,” said Slikker, who saw his team overcome a 25-20 halftime deficit by going on a 19-2 run in the third.
East Union (1-2, 12-3) was coming off a lopsided loss to Sierra. Coach Brett Lewis was hopeful about his team’s chances of rebounding from the setback.
“We came out flat,” he said. “We can tell that Lathrop really wanted this game.”
Kron nailed a 3-pointer early in the extra session to put the Lancers ahead, 53-52. Andrew Ruiz followed by hitting the front end of two free throws, giving East Union a 54-52 edge.
But Eric Spencer delivered on a pair of free throws for the Spartans, knotting the game at 54-54. Kron answered back with two more from the foul line.
Lathrop tied the game at 56-56 on T.J. Conley’s basket. Ellis, who had several strong drives to the hoop, put the Spartans up for good by hitting 3 of 4 from the line. A free throw by Pereznegron coupled with a steal and basket by Orantes helped secure the win.
“I think our guys are finally starting to buy into our program,” Slikker said.
“We fed off the home crowd,” he later added. “In the end, we willed ourselves to the win.”
The Lancers appeared in control during the first half, controlling the boards and using good ball movement. At one point, Kron fired a half-court pass to a wide open Clay Cuneo underneath the basket for an easy two.
Aaron Ramos and Robbie Gleockler had strong drives to the baskets for EU, with Ramos scoring on a reverse layup and Gleockler converting on a circus-like shot.
Not to be outdone, Orantes showed off his skills with an assortment of drives and pull-up jumpers, particularly in the second half. Ellis, a 6-2 sophomore forward, was able to consistently split the defense while driving strong to the hoop.
Stopping Kron was a tough task for Lathrop.
“It took us a while but we finally figured out how to defend his drives to the basket,” Slikker said.
Lathrop 40, EU 35
Jason Maravilla scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the first half to lead the Spartans to a VOL win over the Lancers.
Yancy Ram had 10 of his 14 points before the intermission, helping Lathrop build a 26-11 advantage.
EU tried to comeback in the second half behind Lucas Garcia and Cody Keener, who finished with 16 and 12 points, respectively.