Feasting on Ceres turnovers, the Tigers (15-4 overall, 4-0 Western Athletic Conference) never let the home team get comfortable in the second half and turned a nine-point halftime deficit into their eighth victory in a row.
“In the second half, we didn’t allow Ceres’ post players to establish position,” said Patterson coach Agustin Arreola. “But we need to play with that intensity and smarts for 32 minutes. We’re an excellent field-goal percentage team. There is no need for us to force the issue. When we’re patient, and we work the ball around, we create opportunities.”
Patterson’s 12th win in 13 games followed on the heels of a 64-50 victory against Los Banos High (3-11, 0-2) on Jan. 9, setting up a showdown at home Wednesday, Jan. 16, against defending WAC champion Central Catholic High of Modesto (16-2, 3-0).
Results of that game were not available at press time.
“We’re a bit inconsistent right now, so it’s going to be a matter of us executing,” Arreola said of his team’s chances against Central Catholic. “They’re still the team to beat (in the WAC) until someone takes them down.”
Against Ceres, senior Keegan Sanchez (20 points, three rebounds, three assists) made four of his first five shots and scored 11 points in the opening quarter, helping Patterson to an early 14-5 lead.
But Ceres (8-10, 1-3) closed out the first quarter with an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to just three, 16-13.
Abel Reyes put in a jumper that gave the Bulldogs their first lead (18-17) near the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, and his team extended its advantage to 11 points (33-22) later in the period.
The home team took a 35-26 lead and powerful momentum into the locker room after two quarters of play. Two Ceres players, James Pernetti and Caden Johnson, had each scored 10 points, and the Bulldogs hit 13-of-16 free throws in the opening half.
But in the third period, the Tigers went out like gangbusters.
“At halftime, Coach said we had to come out with fire,” Sanchez said. “We needed to remain focused. This is the varsity level. We can’t take any team lightly or play down to our opponent’s level.”
A ferocious one-handed slam dunk by junior Jordan Levu (11 points, 10 rebounds) started the second half, and classmate Cariaun Williams (18 points, six rebounds, three assists) converted a 3-point play that capped an 11-0 Patterson run, putting the Tigers back in front, 37-35.
The Bulldogs briefly regained the lead on a trio of free throws by Angel Garcia with about five minutes to play in the third period. But Patterson narrowly outscored Ceres, 11-8, in the closing three minutes of the quarter and took a 48-46 lead into the fourth.
Harmon Chung of Ceres scored the first four points of the final period, giving the Bulldogs back the edge, 50-48.
But back-to-back 3-pointers from Williams and Sanchez, coupled with sophomore Kevin Phelps’ six fourth-quarter points, gave Patterson a lead it would not relinquish.
“This team picks each other up. There is no negativity,” Sanchez said. “When one of us gets into the game emotionally, we all get into the game.”
The Tigers will continue league play against Pacheco High (9-7, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in Los Banos.
The Patterson High JV boys basketball team put together a 56-34 win against Los Banos High on Jan. 9 but took its first defeat of the WAC season, 66-54, at Ceres High two days later.
Patterson (3-1 WAC) fought hard in Ceres on Friday. Mylek McDowell (four rebounds, four assists) led the Tigers with 23 points, while teammate Damarrio Hammonds (seven rebounds, five assists) put up 15 more. Devin Burnett also had a solid game, adding nine points and eight rebounds.
McDowell (nine steals) scored 20 points Jan. 9 as Patterson roared over visiting Los Banos. Hammonds collected 13 points and three rebounds, and Burnett finished with nine points and eight boards for the Tigers.
The freshman Tigers stayed perfect in league play by handing host Ceres High a 55-42 loss Friday.
The team beat WAC opponent Los Banos High 53-30 at home Jan. 9.
On Friday, Avery DeHoyos (five rebounds, two assists) and Michael Lawson (six rebounds, two assists) each scored 17 points as they led the Tigers against the Bulldogs.
Patterson’s other leading scorers for the night were Kogi Ogbuli (12 rebounds), who tallied eight points, and Hugo Gonzalez (seven rebounds), who added six. Richard Ricks (10 rebounds) scored five more for the Tigers.
Against Los Banos, DeHoyos sank 15 points, while Lawson notched 10. Ricks posted 11 rebounds.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.