Pacheco Panthers ground visiting Hawks

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

Early in the third quarter of Pacheco's 64-51 victory against Delhi on Wednesday, an Ivan Perez bucket pulled Delhi within 2 points.

Pacheco had held a slim lead throughout the first half, then watched a 32-24 advantage disappear in just more than a minute.

Pacheco coach Tyrell Jenkins called timeout and gathered his troops.

"(I told them) that we just need to play within ourselves and break the press," Jenkins said. "And just to play smart. We're very athletic, but sometimes we play to be more athletic than playing smart basketball."

The Panthers responded, but not before Delhi made it a one-point game with a Nick Hernandez 3-pointer.

"(What was going) through my head, I think through all of our heads, was we need to slow down, we need to get back to the way we were playing, and just do our thing," Pacheco senior Austin Luigard said.

A Luigard block led to a pair of Edgar Iglesias baskets, and the Panthers steadily extended their lead through the third quarter.

"We're doing way better than last year," Luigard said. "I think we realized, us seniors, it's our last year, we need to work hard, and we just want to get far and put our location on the map. Tell people that we're here."

Pacheco sophomore Juwan Epperson came off the bench and started the fourth quarter with a pair of steals and fast-break scores to put the game out of reach. Le'Andre Wright led the Panthers with 16 points, followed by Edgar Iglesias with 15 -- both guys who Jenkins see as keys to the improved leadership of the team.

"Having seniors is a blessing. I have guys like Edgar Iglesias, Le'Andre Wright -- last year they followed more than led, this year they lead more than follow," Jenkins said. "I say something, they believe in it, they execute, and it becomes easier for the locker room to understand where I'm coming from as a coach instead if thinking defensive, 'Oh, he's just picking on me.'

"It's great. I've never had a senior class before, so this is a first."

Delhi's Nick Hernandez scored 18 points, but Wright and Luigard kept the Hawks' main inside threat, Antonio Gonzalez, in check for the most part. Gonzalez finished with 10 points.

"They don't seem rusty -- they seem like basketball players now. They make adjustments," Jenkins said. "Even during the game, I let them call their defenses sometimes. I let them take control and get on the same page, they can speed it up or slow it down, it's up to them, and they make good decisions based on the film we watch."

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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