MODESTO – Lights-out.
That would be the best way to describe the Lathrop girls basketball team’s 45-point first-half performance Thursday night in a 56-35 drubbing of host Johansen in Western Athletic Conference action. The win gives the Spartans their first outright girls basketball league championship in school history.
“This feels great,” Lathrop coach Dwayne Davis said. “I am proud of this group of girls, because nobody expected anything from them. They are a unique group, and they all bought into their roles. That’s what made it work. Everybody didn’t have to score 30. We share the ball.”
The 45-15 halftime lead for the Spartans (12-0 WAC, 19-6) came behind 10 3-pointers, with Lathrop putting in 13 from behind the arc in all.
Marianna Delgado (eight rebounds, two steals) led the Spartans with 20 points behind six 3-pointers with five of those coming in the first half.
“I think that was the most 3-pointers for me in a game,” Delgado said. “I just make sure I put in the work during practice, and it pays off.”
Tatiana Lowery hit five 3-pointers and totaled 19 points for Lathrop, throwing in four 3-point baskets in the first half.
“It feels good that we were able to come out here and play our best,” Lowery said. “Our defense, rebounding and shooting was good, so I feel we really deserved this win.
“It’s good that we got to show what this team is capable of.”
Giving up a lot of height to most of the girls on the floor, Alaba Olaleye pulled down 12 rebounds for the Spartans.
“She is always the leading rebounder,” Davis said of Olaleye. “She works her tail off. We put her on someone who is almost a foot taller than her and she makes life miserable for them.”
Olaleye was third in line behind Delgado and Lowery with six points.
“I know that I am small and I get blocked out a lot,” Olaleye said. “I try to use what I can to my advantage and that is my jumping.
“I have a lot of bounce so I try and use that to get to the ball.”
Lathrop was just 7-6 entering league.
“One of the reasons we went down to San Diego was to play some bigger, more physical teams,” Davis said. “Last year Johansen knocked us off. They got physical with us here and at our place and we lost a two-point game to them which knocked us out of the championship.”
The Spartans’ problems with the Vikings (6-6, 15-11) did not with last season. When the two teams met for the first time this year on Thursday, Jan. 12, Lathrop squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and was forced to eke out a two-point overtime win.
“Last time we blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead,” Davis said. “We let them speed us up for no reason at all. We have to get the girls to understand that we are the quicker team so we don’t need to rush.
“We know where we want to go but every now and then we get caught not thinking so if I have a time out I have to reel them in and get them to think.”
Alize Martinez led Johansen with 14 points.
The Spartans will close out the regular season on the road next week at Mountain House at 7:15 p.m. and at Los Banos on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Johansen 37, Lathrop 24
Kirat Sidhu lad the Spartans with 13 points.
Lathrop 41, Johansen 15
The Spartans held the Vikings to single digits in each quarter.
Lathrop’s Tatianna Lopez outscored Johansen with 22 points, 15 in the first half. Nevaeh Hubbard added nine points.