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Unselfish play leads to lopsided win at EU
BBSK--Lathrop-East Union pic 1 WEB
East Union guard Drew Sena has his layup contested by Lathrops Isaiah Victor (3), Braydon Rollins (30) and Dafford McKenzie (23) at Dalben Center on Monday. - photo by Photos by SEAN KAHLER

Haunted by a heartbreaking defeat, Lathrop wanted to get back to what it does best Monday at East Union.
The Spartans tallied 21 assists and went on a 19-2 run in the first five minutes of the second half of a 75-55 rout. They led by as much as 30, 70-40, in the final period thanks in large part to unselfish play.
“One of the major keys for us is sharing the ball,” Lathrop coach Craig Ward said. “When they share the ball, we can run with anyone.”
Last Friday, Lathrop (4-5, 7-14 overall) was on the cusp of a major Valley Oak League upset against second-place Weston Ranch but let a 22-point lead slip away en route to a frustrating 78-75 setback. The Spartans trailed just once Monday, and their first seven buckets were the result of good ball movement leading to open looks.
“We were mad because we lost that game to Weston Ranch,” Lathrop senior Dafford McKenzie said. “In the fourth quarter (of the loss) we had to share the ball more. That’s what we planned to do in the beginning of this game and we were just flowing. We’re confident that we can continue the rest of the season strong.”
The high-flying 6-foot-2 senior was one of four Spartans to finish in double figures, tallying 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. He also had two breakaway dunks in the first half.
Lathrop’s other starters were just as productive despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter. Dan Ballesteros led all scorers with 19 points, Colin Weis added 12 and Isaiah Victor had 10 to go with six rebounds and five assists. Amiel Adams settled for just three points but contributed seven assists.
Lathrop sprinted to the finish after leading 37-31 at halftime. Ballesteros spearheaded the Spartans’ decisive third-quarter run, accounting for 14 of those points including a pair of 3s and four transition layups.
East Union (0-9, 4-18), which has dropped 11 straight, was down 62-38 by the end of the quarter.
“They had a lot of run-outs where they just got layups and we didn’t even get back contest,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “We talked about slowing them down in transition at halftime and they still blew it open in that third quarter.”
Drew Sena did well to keep the Lancers in it by the end of the first half, scoring eight of his team’s final eight points. He ended with 15 points, seven assists and three steals, while Blake Greenlee and Christian Cuevas chipped in 11 points apiece.
On top of the struggles on defense, they were outrebounded by a considerable 36-12 margin.
They’ll look to bounce back at rival Sierra on Wednesday, while Lathrop tries to keep its postseason hopes alive with a daunting stretch that begins with first-place Central Catholic at home. The Spartans are one of three teams that are a game back of third-place Manteca, and only the top three earn automatic berths.
Lathrop is much improved from its VOL-opening 77-43 loss to Central Catholic, which was paced by Joshua Hamilton’s 37-point outburst.
“We’ve always known this team is capable,” Ward said. “They’ve made great strides, but we’ll find out Wednesday against Central Catholic.”