Lathrop’s last three baskets from the field were from beyond the 3-point arc and with the shot clock running down on each shot, keeping host East Union from mounting a late comeback as the Spartans left Dalben Center with a 65-55 Valley Oak League boys basketball victory Wednesday.
“We had nice ball movement at the end,” Lathrop coach Nate McGrath said. “We moved the ball, we penetrated, we kicked and then hit the open shots. That’s what sealed the game for us.
“When this team listens and plays to their capabilities, they are not bad. They can compete.”
The Lancers (0-10 VOL, 6-17) led 13-10 after the first quarter but a 7-0 run by the Spartans (4-19, 3-7) highlighted by five Junior Ballard points gave Lathrop the lead for good.
“We knew coming into the game we had to control their penetration,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “We didn’t do a very good job of that in the second quarter.
“We did a little better job in the second half but then they were hitting their perimeter shots.”
Ballard finished with 10 points.
“We are working hard right now and trying to get better,” Ballard said. “Our running helped us pull away tonight.”
Isaiah Ellis scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the pivotal second quarter for the Spartans.
“After that first quarter our coaches told us we had to win,” Ellis said. “So we came out running.
“We had more confidence in this game then we have had lately.”
An 8-2 run for Lathrop extended from the third into the fourth quarter and bumped the Lathrop lead to 52-39. After Ellis converted a three-point play the Spartans connected on their three 3-pointers with Yancy Ram getting two of them.
“We finally started moving the ball after the first quarter,” Lathrop coach Nate McGrath said. “When we move the ball and cut and get the ball inside and then work it back out, good things can happen.
“We worked all week in the zone because we knew East Union was going to run a zone so we concentrated on penetrating and kicking.”
The Lancers’ Cody Keener led all scorers with 17 points and had a double-double with 11 rebounds. Teammate Gyse Hulsebosch added 15 points.
East Union 72, Lathrop 67
Angel Sena hit two free throws with 11 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Lancers a four-point lead and then stole the ensuing inbounds pass to help seal the win.
Sena hit seven of his 13 points in the second overtime. Teammate James Harper scored 16 points and P.J. Gill added 14 for East Union.
The Spartans’ Isaias Hunter earned high-point honors with 17 followed by teammates Adonis Payton with 15, Idowu Olaleye with 13 and Roman Martinez with 10.
East Union 48, Lathrop 42
Blake Greenlee led a balanced Lancers attack with 12 points. Jay Gakhal added 10 points for East Union with Andrew Sena and Jessie Anzar scoring nine points each.
The Spartans’ Collin Weis (eight rebounds) led all scorers with 14 points and Michael Ballard (three steals, three assists) had 12 points.