The Tigers (17-2 overall) won two conference games — a 41-39 road victory Jan. 15 over Central Catholic High of Modesto and a 71-23 rout Thursday, Jan. 17, over visiting Pacheco High of Los Banos.
Those showings placed the Tigers in familiar territory heading into the second half of the WAC schedule.
Patterson started the 2011-12 league season 6-0, but dropped three consecutive WAC games.
The Tigers eventually finished second.
Patterson coach Elizabeth Tolleson said this year’s squad is nothing like the one that went into a tailspin last season, and believes a repeat collapse isn’t on the way.
“These players know what it’s like to let a conference title slip through their grasp,” Tolleson said. “We’ve been in this situation before. Our focus is on keeping up the intensity and remaining positive.”
Patterson players are also aware of the need to avoid a repeat of last season’s disappointment and are determined to build on the three-game lead they’ve opened at the top of the WAC.
“Last year, we lost our focus, because we forgot that wins aren’t just given to you,” said Patterson junior Kiara Job. “We’ve learned our lesson, and we hope to finish undefeated in (WAC play).”
Jovanah Arrington scored 10 points against Central Catholic (11-5, 3-2). Fellow junior Dayna Hansen dropped in eight for Patterson.
“Central Catholic is always a highly competitive game,” Tolleson said. “We came out a little nervous, but we finished with a win and we were able to keep moving forward.”
Patterson’s dismantling of Pacheco (6-13, 0-5) was essentially over by halftime.
The Tigers, whose previous highest-scoring game of the season was a 67-48 win over Turlock High on Dec. 26, led 38-9 after two quarters.
“It’s important for us to continue to play consistent, tough basketball,” Tolleson said. “If you’re not playing well, anyone can come along and knock you off.”
Sophomore Shealyn Craven scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers. The Tigers also benefited from 10 points from junior Tiana Barron, while Job (nine rebounds) and Tupouata (eight rebounds) added eight each.
This season, the Tigers are 5-0 in the Patterson High gymnasium and have won 15 straight at home dating back to last season.
“Right now, we’re very patient defensively and forcing teams to throw the ball into our hands. We are able to convert those steals into points,” Tolleson said. “The girls are doing a great job making their opponent work on defense and frustrating our opponents’ main players.”
The Tigers continue the league season at home 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, against Livingston High (4-13, 1-4).
The JV Tigers scored 57 of the first 59 points Thursday, Jan. 17, to run away with a 75-4 win over the Pacheco High Panthers.
Ariyanna Cashen had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Jordynn Scheuller added 12 points and four boards to pace Patterson.
The Tigers (3-3 WAC) outscored the Panthers 42-0 in the first quarter.
The win followed on the heels of a 62-29 victory against Central Catholic on Jan. 15.
Against the Raiders, Maria Cortez scored 12 points, Cashen had 11 and Scheuller Stephanie Esqueda, Julia Sill and Idalis Besinaiz each finished with eight.
The freshman Tigers lost to Pacheco, 42-34, on Thursday.
Danyelle DeForest logged 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Paula Diaz added eight points and five boards in the losing effort.
Ana Martin contributed 10 rebounds and six points for the Tigers (0-6 WAC).
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.