Trailing at halftime on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Tigers (24-2 overall) rallied in the second half behind juniors Mele Tupouata and Jovanah Arrington and sophomore Shealyn Craven and beat visiting Oakmont High of Roseville 68-61.
It was Patterson’s first postseason victory since 2003.
“In the second half, we knew that we had to come out harder,” Arrington said. “We’ve been down in games before, so we knew that we could bring ourselves back up. It was all mental, and we managed to push through.”
The team, seeded No. 5, travels to Auburn on Thursday, Feb. 21, to face No. 4 Placer High (25-2) in the second round of the Division III playoffs.
“We wanted this win tonight,” said Patterson coach Elizabeth Tolleson. “My girls stepped up, they met the challenge, and everybody that walked onto that court for us played intense.”
In the first postseason girls basketball game played at Patterson High in nearly a decade, Tupouata (seven rebounds) scored 17 points, Arrington (four rebounds, three assists) added 16 and Craven (three 3-pointers) had 14, all in the second half, as the Tigers overcame a six-point halftime deficit.
“When you have the home-court advantage, you have all of your fans around you, rooting you on every step of the way,” Tolleson said. “It’s also nice to shoot at a basket that you’re used to.”
Even so, the Tigers trailed by as much as eight points in the second quarter as Oakmont got hot from the perimeter midway through the opening half. The visitors hit nine 3-pointers in the first half — six of them in a span of seven minutes — and had a 38-32 lead at the intermission.
Tupouata scored 12 of her points in the opening half, while classmate Dayna Hansen scored all of her seven points before halftime, keeping the Tigers within striking distance.
Patterson started the third quarter on a 12-6 run and tied the game at 44-44 with four minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the period.
Craven sparked the run with back-to-back 3’s, and Tupouata converted a 3-point play with 2:11 left in the third, giving Patterson a 47-46 edge.
Sophomore Ariyanna Cashen — called up from the junior varsity ranks and playing in her first varsity game — split a pair of free throws with 50 seconds left to put the Tigers ahead 50-46 after three frames. She also pulled down 11 rebounds in the game.
“We’ve been contemplating bringing (Cashen) up to varsity, but we weren’t sure if she was ready,” Tolleson said. “She definitely proved herself tonight. She wanted to be on that court.”
Arrington scored Patterson’s first six points in the fourth quarter, but a pesky Oakmont team wouldn’t relent, and the Vikings used a trio of 3-pointers to tie the game at 58-58 with 2:08 left.
Paced by six more points from Craven, however, the Tigers outscored the visitors 10-3 the rest of the way.
“Winning on our home court was the best feeling ever,” Craven said. “But we’re not satisfied with a first-round win. We know now that it’s still go big or go home.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.