STRATHMORE — A passionate game between the Strathmore High boys basketball team and the Orange Cove Titans resulted in a Spartan victory 58–44 on Thursday at Spartan Gym.

It was in contrast to their game with Orange Cove earlier this week where the Spartans squeaked out a 35-33 win at Orange Cove.

Beginning quickly Strathmore's Cael Alkire passed the ball to Manuel Andrade who scored an easy two points to start the Spartans off nicely.

Roberto Bojorquez was also able to score with a well timed pass from Sebastian Gonzalez early on in the first quarter. Overall Gabriel Bower would be the Spartans top scorer with 19 points and Manuel Andrade following close behind at 16.

Bower once again was able to push the length of the court and score right in the Titans face to give Strathmore a 30-18 lead in the second quarter. Bojorquez also made an impressive pass between two Titan defenders to Jaylen Oats for an easy basket. A steal by Canyon Johnson was passed to Christian Canales for a basket as Strathmore took a 37-20 halftime lead.

Jalen Manivanh was able to rebound and pass it over to Bower for an easy two points to give SHS a 39-20 lead to begin the third quarter.

The Spartan offense kept it hot after a Titan score with four baskets almost in a row to lead 50-32 by the two minute mark remaining in the third quarter. Andrade was able to score the Spartans last points of the third quarter off of an excellent passes from Aneas Ambriz and Nicholas Mosqueda. The Titans however kept pushing and whittled the Spartan lead down closing out third period down 53-39.

In the fourth quarter despite the impressive passing game of the Titans the Spartans were able to slap the ball away from their basket time and time again.

Scoring slowed down dramatically for the Spartans as they concentrated on their defensive positioning. But Bojorquez eventually hit a three-pointer to give Strathmore a 56-44 lead.

Canyon Johnson scored the last basket of the game for SHS on a pass from Armando Samano for the final margin.

“We finally had a nice three days of some of the best practice we've ever had,” SHS coach Israel Valdez said. “We're pressing even more and even harder. Playing a better base level of game. I'm happy to see them keeping up with the pace we set.

“Our defense in the first quarter was loose, too loose for our own good. As the game went on though we tightened up and really started performing in quarters two and three. For whatever reason there was a lid on the basket during the fourth but we kept them right where we wanted them. Half court was our real battle ground. We were getting steady pressure by the Titans and we pushed through with some good ball play.”

PHS 64, HANFORD 45

Garin Wallace led the Panthers with 13 points on Thursday. Dane Odsather had 12 points and Adam Daguman chipped in 10. 

Nine Panthers scored on the night “making it a true team win,” PHS coach Lance Wallace said. PHS (8-2) opens with El Diamante on Monday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the Polly Wilhelmsen tournament..

Porterville's first two games will be played at Ridgeview Middle School in Visalia as Redwood's gym is under reconstruction. Monache will play there as well in the tournament.

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