Somewhere in the midst of the scuffles and fouls, Oakdale High’s varsity girls basketball team found a mean streak on Jan. 16.
The Lady Mustangs battled aggressively for loose balls, charged the hoop with vigor and nearly came to blows with a talented Lathrop squad during a 45-37 Valley Oak League decision in the visiting Spartans’ favor.
“We knew we had to compete in the post with their best players,” Oakdale coach Justin Schwitters said afterwards. “We knew we had to be competitive and physical with them and as a coach I teach that you can’t back down if you want to win basketball games.
“It’s not about being dirty, it’s about being physical.”
Oakdale led 28-27 after a 16-8 third quarter run, but allowed Lathrop to win the final period 18-9. The Mustangs appeared to pull within range at 43-37 with a minute, 25 seconds to play after a dazzling reverse layup by Christina Cobarruvias. Lathrop responded with big rebounds and an additional bucket to extend the lead.
Cobarruvias led both teams with 12 points (10 in the second half) and converted all four free throw attempts.
“This league is so tough, but we were ready to play today,” Cobarruvias said afterwards. “I think I had a little more confidence for this game.”
The game got chippy in the second half as elbows and swats made a battleground of the paint. Oakdale was tagged for a technical foul midway through the fourth and nearly saw a punch fly from a Lathrop forward when two players separated from a jump-ball ruling.
The loss dropped Oakdale to 0-5 in VOL play while Lathrop moved to 2-3. The Spartans carry a win over East Union, but fell by only two points to Sonora (42-40), Manteca (52-50) and Weston Ranch (66-64).
To lead Lathrop in the fourth quarter was quite the feat.
“That’s the mentality we want to bring every game.” Schwitters said. “We have got to make the jump from being competitive to being able to win.
“We just did not make our shots down the stretch.”
Kylie Gust drained a big fourth quarter three-pointer and finished with seven points for the Mustangs. Maddi Hackberth scored six for Oakdale while Francesca Orvis drained a third-quarter trey and netted five. Jenny Gust (four), Mackenzie Ruthman (two) and Hanna Holland (one) also scored for Oakdale.
Oakdale was at Sierra on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The Mustangs are at Weston Ranch on Thursday, Jan. 24.