Lodi High boys basketball coach Scott Woznick made some adjustments to his roster to open the second half of Tri-City Athletic League action.
But Tracy made adjustments in the fourth quarter that hurt the Flames. That led to the Bulldogs starting the second half of league action with a 65-54 win over Lodi (2-5 in the TCAL, 10-13) at The Inferno on Wednesday.
The game was tied 32-32 at halftime. Both Lodi and Tracy (5-2 in the TCAL, 14-7) were able to match the other’s strength inside the paint and scoring. A bigger plus for Lodi was the play of forward/center Matt Nickels and sophomore forward Isaac Bishop, who was recently moved up from the junior varsity team. Nickel and Bishop combined for 12 rebounds. The Flames finished with 23 boards.
“He’s not shy around the basket, around physical contact,” said Woznick of Bishop. “That’s why he’s up here.”
Joining Bishop in the promotion is guard Max Graves.
“Give them some varsity experience,” said Woznick of Bishop and Graves. “They’re physical. They’re athletes.”
Tracy, known for making its 3-pointers, was forced to go inside to score most of its points in the second half. The Flames’ plan of using full, half and trapping presses worked for the most part; the Bulldogs only made four 3-pointers the game.
“We had made adjustments coming into this game; not allowing them to shoot so many 3s,” Woznick said. “That was our focus was to get them off the 3-point line and stop them on drives. The 3s are a little bit more important than the 2s.”
Tracy forward Isaac Hawthorne, however, found his way to the basket, scoring eight of the Bulldogs’ 19 points that were combined with inside the paint and bank shots. Hawthorne, who finished with a game-high 23 points, and the Bulldogs held a 51-39 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Half of Hawthrone’s points came off turnovers that his Bulldog teammates created in the quarter.
“Taking care of the ball,” said Woznick of the Flames’ 11 turnovers in the game. “That’s been an Achilles’ heel for us all season. Not making the right decision, forcing things. Just not making the easy play.
Hawthrone continued his scoring ways in the final eight minutes with seven more points. That led to Tracy sitting on a 64-43 lead with under three minutes left in the game.
If not enough rebounds wasn’t enough, the Flames were guilty of 11 turnovers. Lodi forced Tracy into only four the entire game.
For a brief time in the second quarter, Lodi held the lead twice. The first came at 5:20 when Lodi point guard Chase Shafter (team-high 12 points) canned a 3-pointer for a 24-23 lead. After Tracy made a bucket to tie the game at 25-25, forward Logan Stout canned a baseline shot to make it 27-25. Both teams continued to exchange baskets until halftime.
Nickels scored nine of his 11 points in the first quarter, as Tracy held a slim 20-18 lead.
Behind Shafter and Nickels in scoring for the Flames were forward Logan Stout with eight points. Bishop finished with seven points in his debut, Trevor Jackson, who canned two 3-pointers in the final minute of the game, had six, Nathan Shoup four and Colton Stout, along with Jace Haro and Marcell Roberts, had two each.
Tracy guard Jacob Peralta finished with 13 points, center Daniel Spencer nine and forward Joelle Guzman eight.
Lodi continues league play at St. Mary’s on Friday.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.