Two Lodi High boys basketball players each scored the same number of double-digit points in Monday’s Tri-City Athletic League opener at The Inferno.
But visiting Tracy had one of its players score often in the fourth quarter. That led to the Bulldogs posting a 56-47 victory over Lodi, which along with Tracy were playing their league opener.
Entering the fourth quarter, Tracy led 40-33. But Lodi (0-1 in the TCAL, 6-11) went inside for the bulk of its points in the final eight minutes of the game. Junior forward Isaac Bishop took passes from teammates in guards Julius Latteri and Logan Stout that led to 7 of his team-high 13 points.
“That’s what we were contending to do,” said Lodi coach Scott Woznick of having Bishop take control in the paint in the fourth quarter.
The last two minutes had Tracy leading Lodi 46-40. But both teams found trouble hitting their shots, thanks to the other’s defensive efforts underneath the rim.
“We just couldn’t get that ball into the hoop,” Woznick said. “We found a way to go inside, just couldn’t a way to finish it.”
Tracy (1-0 in the TCAL, 6-3) countered the Flames’ moves in the quarter. Bulldog forward Sean Johnson scored 12 of his game-high 30 points; eight from the field and four at the free throw line.
The Bulldogs led 46-40 halfway the quarter. Another perk for the Bulldogs was boxing out Lodi players that allowed Tracy rebounds after Lodi players missed shots.
“It seems to be our MO,” Woznick said. “What we’ve done in every game is give up a lead, fight real hard to get back into the game and work out tails off. We should’ve been in the game the whole entire time, not give up those big leads.”
Tracy held to a 24-21 halftime lead entering the third quarter. Lodi closed it to 24-23 after Bishop grabbed back-to-back offensive rebounds for a basket after each team traded offensive possessions. Tracy countered when Johnson hit one of two 3-pointers to expand the Bulldogs’ advantage to 27-23 with seven minutes to play.
After the two teams went through a scoring drought for two minutes — many turnovers and rebounds during that time — Flames guard Stephano Casciaro canned 2 of 2 free throws with 5:50 left in the third quarter to make it 27-25.
But Tracy guard Rasheed Asaf hit one of his two 3-pointers in the quarter to make it 30-25 with 4:33 left. The Bulldogs finished the quarter with a 10-8 scoring advantage for their 40-33 lead entering the final quarter.
In the last three minutes of the second quarter, Lodi, which trailed 16-9 to start, found some offensive rhythm. That included a 5-0 run, plus Latteri and Stout each hitting a 3-pointer. That led to a 22-21 score with 1:31 on the clock. However, Bulldog forward J’den Smith made 1 of 2 free throws with 58 seconds left, plus another Tracy basket to make it 24-21 at halftime.
Stout also had 13 points for the Flames. Casciaro followed in scored with seven points, Latteri and Shoup each had four points and guard Gabe Biagioni had two.
Asaf had seven points for the Bulldogs. Guards Tommy Chavez followed in scoring with six points and teammate in forward Christian Avila had five.
Lodi resumes league play at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.