Lathrop’s chances of qualifying to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs are now grim following its heartbreaking 64-61 loss to visiting Kimball on senior night Friday.
Robert Orantes and Mikey Pereznegron both went out with a bang on their final home contest. Coach Bill Slikker would have rather they go out with a win to go along with their sterling performances.
Orantes poured in 20 points and six assists, while Pereznegron collected 18 points and six rebounds. A win over Division-II Kimball (5-8 Valley Oak League, 13-13 overall) would have greatly improved Lathrop’s chances at advancing its season past next Tuesday’s regular-season finale at first-place Sierra.
The Spartans fell to 4-9 in league, 8-16 overall.
“It’s just disappointing for me that we were unable to send (Lathrop’s seniors) off with a win and a possible playoff spot,” Slikker said. “We knew we needed this game. It’s going to be even tougher Tuesday night because Sierra will be hungry after losing (Friday) to Weston Ranch.”
Alex Toledo was Kimball’s standout Friday. He fired 19 points and nailed five 3s, including two in the fourth quarter. Kimball also hit 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth.
It was a tough way to finish after Lathrop started the game firing on all cylinders. It scored 19 points in the first quarter and led 33-26 at halftime.
“There was a 15-6 foul discrepancy against us in the second half,” Slikker said. “We couldn’t get a call, but we have to learn to play through that. They made plays down the stretch and we didn’t, that’s the bottom line.”
Ripon Ch. 74, Gustine 24
In Ripon, the SL champion Knights (13-0, 21-4) buried 10 3-pointers and went on a furious 30-5 run in the third quarter.
Jon Vander Molen led RC with 20 points, Clayton Blankers chipped in 14 and Danny Vander Molen added 11 while accounting for three of the team’s 3s.
Ripon 73, Hilmar 33
The Indians (5-6, 10-16) started off hot on senior night, outscoring Hilmar (1-11, 8-19) 32-9 in the first quarter.
Chase DePrue, the lone junior to start, led Ripon with 17 points. Seniors Kyle Wengel and Tanner Jordan chipped in 13 and 12, respectively.”
Ripon 43, Hilmar 22
Elle Waters led Ripon (9-2, 23-2) with 10 points on Thursday. Emily O’Brien contributed eight.