SACRAMENTO — The dream season ended Thursday for the Lathrop High Spartans.
They were rudely awakened by host West Campus. The No. 2 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs ousted No. 10 Lathrop with a 57-41 defeat.
Naiko Adams, Kiara Jefferson and Cookie Marques supplied most of the firepower for the Warriors (23-6).
Adams had a game-high 15 points to go with six rebounds and four steals. Jefferson and Marques chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“We made too many turnovers early on and we let (West Campus) take too big of a lead,” said Spartans coach Dwayne Davis, who attributed some of those woes to the jitters.
Lathrop (15-11) had a nightmarish start to this second-round playoff affair, committing 21 first-half turnovers while struggling with the West Campus’ pressure defense.
The Warriors also controlled the boards, particularly on the offensive glass, getting second and even third chance baskets.
They led 13-4 after the first and built that up to a 30-14 halftime advantage.
The Spartans trailed 9-0 from the onset, scoring their first basket at the 2:28 mark in the first. Semajynique Steen scored inside, drawing foul on the shot.
She was among the seven sophomores on the playoff roster featuring just two seniors.
“We’re young but were unafraid,” Davis said.
But it was a pair of freshmen who breathed new life to his squad.
Mary Cotton and Kasey Matela sparked a near comeback late in the third. Down 39-18 after Marques sank a pair of 3s, Cotton and Matela were instrumental in the 13-0 run by Lathrop to close out the period.
Ryleen Crull scored on a layup and Gurveen Bal sank a pair of a free throws to pull the Spartans to within eight points from the lead, 39-31.
Lathrop had a chance to make it even closer early in the fourth only to see a pair of baskets, including a trey, rattle out of the hoop.
Any comeback hopes for the Spartans were squashed as the Warriors went on a 12-2 run midway through the final period.
Cotton finished with 11 points, eight boards and a steal. Steen added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Davis was hardly surprised by his two freshmen, who played with the varsity squad over the summer. He can now look to continue building for the future.
“We’ve already done what others thought couldn’t be done,” he added.
Included was the first-ever playoff appearance by the Lathrop girls hoop program not to mention a surprise first-round win at Calaveras.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.