Chase Shafter fought back tears after he and his Lodi High boys basketball teammates broke a group huddle at the middle of the court at The Inferno on Friday.
Before they did, the Flames raised their hands in the air and shouted “family.” The family spent a lot of time inside that gym after beating the Tokay High boys squad 78-57 in their Tri-City Athletic League cross-town meeting in front of a packed Inferno.
Lodi (5-7 in the TCAL, 13-15) built a 20-7 lead after the first quarter, thanks to multiple passes around the paint and creating steals that became Tokay turnovers.
Then the Tigers (0-12 in the TCAL, 2-26) were the ones creating the same type of problems for Lodi. Tokay point guard Austyn Reiswig scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the second quarter. Five of those points included a steal followed by a coast-to-coast run and a 3-pointer that helped the Tigers trim the Flames’ lead to 25-21.
“The guys got over the hoopla of the Lodi-Tokay hype and started settling down,” said Tokay coach Chris Boss. “Driving, getting to the hoop, inbounding. We don’t have much height, so we have to rely on our quickness.”
Tiger guard Mohammad Ibrahim knocked down another 3-pointer that shrunk the Flames’ lead to 27-24 with 3:02 remaining in the quarter. But forward Logan Stout helped reshape Lodi’s double-digit lead, starting with two free throws at 2:51 to make it 29-24.
After grabbing a rebound, Lodi forward Colton Stout (team-high 18 points) rebounded the ball, and also went coast-to-coast to the west end of The Inferno for a bucket and 31-24 score. Lodi sophomore forward Isaac Bishop and Nathan Shoup delivered baskets that led to Lodi taking a 35-24 halftime lead.
Lodi took advantage of extra opportunities around the rim for points; offensive rebounds and free throws. That led to a 9-0 run for a 44-24 lead. The Stout clan of Colton and Logan led the way, as they scored seven and five points respectively in the quarter.
“That’s what we’ve been stressing all year is team ball,” said Lodi coach Scott Woznick. “More extra passes and find the open guy.”
Both Woznick and Boss cleared their benches in the fourth quarter. Then toward the end of the quarter, both coaches inserted their seniors who started the game back in to savor the final moments of their final high school basketball game of their lives. For Lodi, it was Shafter, Colton Stout, center/forward Marcell Roberts, forward Matt Nickel and Kent Powell. For Tokay, wing Jayden Matt, forward Adam Johnson, Reiswig and center Anoop Singh.
Bishop followed in scoring for the Flames with 10 points. Logan Stout had nine points, Roberts seven, Shoup six, Shafter and Max Graves five each and Jace Haro two.
Johnson had 15 points for Tokay. Ibrahim followed with 10 points, Daniel Penafor four and Singh one.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.