The Central Valley High Hawks of Ceres took full advantage to hand the Tigers their second Western Athletic Conference home loss of the season, 55-52 on Friday, Feb. 7.
A Patterson (13-10, 7-3) win would have given it sole possession of second place, one game ahead of Central Valley (19-5, 7-2) in the league standings. Now the Hawks can wrap up the No. 2 seed by winning their final three games -- on the road against Livingston, at home against Los Banos and at Patterson.
The Tigers are set to visit the Hawks in the final game of the regular season for both teams on Monday, Feb. 17. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
After getting fouled while muscling to the basket, Kevin Phelps (15 points) capped an old-fashioned three-point play -- part of a two-minute stretch between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter where he scored 11 straight Tiger points -- to put Patterson up 48-38 with 7:36 left in the game.
But that was immediately answered by a Jaron Dixon (19 points) three-pointer, and Central Valley used a big run to overtake the Tigers for a three-point lead with 39 seconds remaining.
With 17 ticks on the clock, Central Valley drove for a lay-up. That attempt was nullified, however, when the visiting player was called for a charging foul.
Patterson called a timeout and diagrammed a play.
But the Tigers couldn't get the ball to the evening's hot shooter, Justin Rodriguez (19 points), and with three seconds left Patterson fell by three, leaving the home fans itching to explode.
Rodriguez (5-of-6 from three point range) drained three 3's during the Tigers' sizzling first quarter, Jordan Levu (11 points, six rebounds) added four points and three boards and Patterson opened the contest with a 13-3 sprint, setting the tempo early and building a 17-9 lead.
After shooting 50 percent through the first quarter, Patterson made just 3-of-11 from the field in the second frame.
Rodriguez scored eight consecutive Patterson points, including a pair of buckets from behind the arc, to give the home team a 29-21 lead with about two minutes left before the break.
Dixon's three-pointer closed the 5-0 Central Valley run that sealed the first half, and the Hawks trimmed Patterson's lead to 29-26 after two quarters of play.
The lead changed hands six times in the third quarter, but Phelps appeared poised to give the Hawks a tough test, scoring eight straight points to close the period and take a 45-38 lead.
In one of his best games of the season, Phelps dominated Central Valley's interior defense, and helped Patterson build momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
After Phelps helped Patterson stretch the lead to 10, Central Valley outscored the home team 17-4 in the final minutes. And though the Tigers had a number of opportunities to tie or take the lead during the period, they could never quite do so.
Patterson got five points, five rebounds and three assists from Cariaun Williams, and Michael Smith had a team-high five assists.
Patterson seniors Levu, Rodriguez, Smith, Williams, Jordan Dinu and Daniel Kelepi took to the court inside the Patterson High gym for the final time against Central Valley.
The Tigers' latest defeat came on the heels of a 79-58 win against visiting Pacheco High of Los Banos on Feb. 5.
Patterson will play a Friday, Feb. 14 game at Pacheco. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
A conventional three-point play from Nana Appiah gave Patterson a one-point lead with 42 seconds left in regulation, but the home-team Tigers couldn't hold on, falling to the Central Valley Hawks 58-54 on Friday, Feb. 7.
Avery Dehoyos (four rebounds) scored a team-high 18 points, including four 3's, and Appia added 14 points and four boards for Patterson.
Spirit Ricks tallied 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Michael Lawson had five points, seven rebound and five steals for the Tigers.
Patterson beat the visiting Pacheco Panthers on Feb. 5.
Lawson (five rebounds, six steals) and Dehoyos (eight rebounds) were Patterson's leading scorers with 14 points apiece, while teammate Michael Moore added 10 points and six rebounds.
Ivan Ornelas' fourth-quarter basket was a dagger in Central Valley's heart.
Tied at 55-55 and eagerly awaiting the ball, the Hawks would have had seven seconds to win the game had the Patterson guard missed with his jumper.
Instead it fell through the basket to give the freshman Tigers a 58-55 win against the visiting Hawks on Friday, Feb. 7.
Pierre Williams scored 14 points to go with five steals and four assists, and Marlon Cortez added 11 points and eight rebounds for Patterson.
Tre McGill added nine points, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists, while Ornelas and Tavita Kelepi each had eight points for the Tigers.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.