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Lathrop crushes Oakdale to stay in playoff hunt
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OAKDALE — On the bubble for a Sac-Joaquin Section postseason berth, Lathrop isn’t going to take any win it can get for granted.

Such was the case in its 64-34 clobbering of Oakdale on Wednesday. The Spartans, now 4-4 in the Valley Oak League and 11-10 overall, blew open a 22-4 lead in the first quarter and didn’t look back.

“Oakdale is struggling, but we have to take advantage when we can these wins in league,” Lathrop coach Nathan McGrath said.

Although the Spartans are not out of the hunt for an top-three finish and automatic bid, they’ll be hard pressed to overtake Weston Ranch, Manteca and Central Catholic. Their best bet is to get in with an at-large berth, which would require a top-12 finish in MaxPreps’ Sac-Joaquin Section Division III rankings. They are currently 13th behind Patterson and league rival Sierra, which it defeated 80-69 last Friday.

All 12 Lathrop players scored in Wednesday’s shellacking. Junior Ballard led the way with 25 despite playing only the first and third quarters. Michael Mills chipped in with 10. Dallon Barfield had 15 points for Oakdale (0-8, 1-20), which suited up just seven players.