Facing a tough Livingston High team, the Tigers kept their composure late and closed out the game at the free-throw line. The result was a 35-34 road victory on Tuesday, Jan. 11.
Perhaps most impressive was the fact that freshman Dayna Hansen was the one icing the game at the free-throw line.
Hansen hit one of two free throws in the final 35 seconds to help the Tigers hang on.
With the win, the Tigers improve to 1-1 in Western Athletic Conference play, and can start to look past a tough loss to Central Valley High of Ceres in the league opener last week.
“The girls were tired of losing and things finally started to click. I knew they would sooner or later — luckily it was sooner,” Patterson coach Elizabeth Reza said. “(The team) mentally prepared themselves for the physical game ahead. We wanted to address (Livingston’s) aggressiveness and will to never quit.”
Livingston got one more chance to win the game in the frantic closing seconds.
Both teams traded possessions inside the final 11 ticks. But after Patterson turned the ball over with three seconds left to leave the margin at one point, Livingston coach Luciana Lacey called timeout. The Wolves inbounded, looking for stalwart Tara Lao, but could not find her, and fired off a shot that could have given them the win. The shot was not close.
“(After the final buzzer sounded) everyone was yelling like they just won the lottery. There was nothing but positive things to say,” Reza said. “It was a huge win and (assistant coach Tony Lomeli Sr. and I) wanted to allow them to take it all in and let them enjoy it for that evening.”
Junior guard Stephanie Cantu paced Patterson with a team-high 13 points. Dayna Hansen added seven rebounds and four steals, and Dani Hansen had eight blocks.
It’s a great experience for the Tigers to play in games like this early in the year with a young team, Reza said.
“Defense was a big factor in our win, but to me, our patience, effort and never-give-up attitude was the key to the win,” Reza said.
The Tigers were able to stay composed and ultimately build some momentum towards their next game Thursday, Jan. 13, against Los Banos at the Patterson High gymnasium.
Tuesday night’s win allows the kind of experience — and positive outcome — that can pay dividends in close games later in the year.
“This was a complete team win,” Reza said. “All nine girls played and contributed something positive to the game. This has also shown them that if they keep fighting anything is possible.”