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Spartans squeeze by in OT
lathrop basketball
Lathrops Isaias Hunter (12) drives past Oaklands Natna Ogbe (0) for a layup Saturday in a 72-71 overtime win for the Spartans in opening round Platinum-Bracket action of the St. Hope Elite Classic at Sacramento Highs Dave Hotell Pavilion. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

SACRAMENTO – Lathrop closed an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit on the hot hand of Junior Ballard to force overtime Saturday and scored one more point than Oakland did in the final period to escape Sacramento High’s Dave Hotell Pavilion with a 72-71 overtime win in opening-round Platinum-Bracket action of the St. Hope Elite Classic. 

“I am just happy we got that win,” Spartans coach Craig Ward said. “We struggled here today giving up way more points than we should ever give up.

“We didn’t make a lot of our free throws and we didn’t make a lot of our layups so to come away with a win here is big because we know the next one is going to be tough.”

In the final three minutes of the fourth period Ballard had a three-point play followed by a 3-pointer to put Lathrop (7-3) ahead 63-62 with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats (5-5) took a 65-63 lead but Adonis Payton (12 points) powered in one more basket for the Spartans and then pulled down a rebound in the closing seconds to force overtime.

Ballard – who led all scorers with 32 points and was 12 of 14 from the free-throw line – was 5 of 6 from the line in the extra quarter, getting five of the six Spartans overtime points. 

“Coach told us we had to keep fighting,” Ballard said. “We had to run the press because we started very slow.

“At first we let them go by us with no help, but once we fixed that then we started pushing back.”

Michael Mills added 14 points for Lathrop and Isaias Hunter 10.

Jalen Dummett and Ahmari Harris paced Oakland with 13 points apiece.

Lathrop faces the winner of today’s Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills-Clovis North contest in a semifinal contest on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Sacramento High.


Gold Bracket

Pleasant Grove of

Elk Grove 67,

Weston Ranch 57

The Eagles (5-4) used a 19-12 second quarter to build an eight-point halftime lead and led by as much as 16 in the second half at Capital Christian High School.

“They played well,” Cougars coach Chris Teevan said. “They are a lot better than I thought they were. We are still kind of learning about ourselves.

“They did a great job and you have to give credit to them. We did not match their physicality, that’s for sure.”

Pleasant Grove routinely pounded the ball inside and then used pinpoint passing to find the open man. 

“The kids put a great effort together,” Eagles coach Dwayne Smith said. “We really got together, got after it and put pressure on them.

“We are just trying to get a groove to move into league on.”

Gavin Wilburn led Weston Ranch with 17 points and Miloni Massey added 10 points. Chedrick Ordonez chipped in nine points behind three 3-pointers. 

Pleasant Grove’s Geoffery Kranhold led all scorers with 26 points.

The Cougars face San Juan of Citrus Heights in a consolation contest Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Capital Christian.