The team completed a 18-game winning streak -- and with it the Creekside boys basketball program's first perfect season.
"It took hard work and dedication from both players and coaches to accomplish the undefeated record," said Creekside coach James Pearson.
The Panthers recorded three straight victories at the Prescott Middle School gymnasium to win the tournament title.
After taking down La Loma Middle School of Modesto and Prescott, Creekside completed a tournament sweep by defeating Ripon Christian Middle School 59-23 on Feb. 15, while running its winning streak to 18 games.
Creekside advanced to the championship game of the tournament with a 65-20 win over Prescott on Feb. 14, and earned a victory in the first round of the event Feb. 12, topping La Loma 67-20.
The sound of dribbling across a hardwood floor began resonating from Creekside's gymnasium in early December.
From there, the Panthers undertook a two-month-long journey toward basketball perfection, learning a thing or two about teamwork and camaraderie along the way.
It takes talented, dedicated athletes to pull off an undefeated season, Pearson said.
"I would say that we are all on the same page," Pearson said. "All the boys are locked in and prepared for every game."
The Panthers' varsity boys basketball players are: Kendrick Bond, Ysmael Dauz, Carlos Delgado, Christopher Garcia, Jerome Hughs, Devaughn McCowan, Matthew Ochoa, Jonathan Okitukunda, James Perez, Kwaheri Rue, Drew Shepard and Ronin Taylor.
The average margin of victory in the 18 game stretch was more than 20 points, and three Creekside players -- Bond, Okitukunda and Perez -- averaged more than 10 points per contest.
Delgado, Hughs and Okitukunda averaged more than seven rebounds per game for Creekside, while Bond and Perez each averaged more than three steals per game.
"(Okitukunda) is a very motivated, emotional and compassionate player. He's been very instrumental this year because of his scoring and rebounding ability," Pearson said. "(Bond) is very strong minded when it comes to competing. He's a team player, making everybody involved on and off the court and cares about his team."
Many Creekside players also compete on the Amateur Athletic Union club circuit in the spring and late summer, Pearson said.
"Half of the boys on the team have AAU experience and have been playing with each other for a few years," Pearson said.
But Pearson warned that this year's success should not be attributed only to the team's players.
He said the unwavering support of the team's coaches, parents and fans helped the Panthers triumph.
"I think Patterson hoops have a great future with the varsity boys from Creekside going to PHS," Pearson said. "The high school program will be in good hands with a great group of boys who know the game of basketball."
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.