The Los Banos girls basketball team dipped below .500 for the first time this season after losing three straight last weekend at the West Coast Jamboree.
But two of those losses were by three points (42-39 in overtime to Ripon and 56-53 to Hercules), and LB coach Danny Crosby sees a team that's coming together at the right time.
"I have more confidence going into league play now than prior to that tournament," Crosby said. "The girls are picking it up. Some of them are starting to play good basketball. Savannah (Peña)'s playing good basketball, and Jacquelin (Arretche), she's starting to score. She had 20 points in the Hercules game, her best outing so far."
Add to that guard Alexis Barcellos staying hot from beyond the arc (11 3-pointers in the three games), and Crosby feels the pieces are falling into place. The Tigers just need the ball to bounce in their direction.
After a tough opener in the tournament -- a 64-26 loss to Burlingame -- the Tigers led Ripon after allowing just two points in the second quarter. But Ripon turned the tables, allowing just three Los Banos points in the third quarter. Tied up with about 10 seconds remaining, Barcellos had a shot to seal the game.
"We had a couple of opportunities to make the layup, but it rimmed in, circled and went out," Crosby said. "She picked the girl with 10 seconds left and attacked the basket like she's supposed to. I guess the rim gods weren't on our side."
Ripon lit up the scoreboard with 3-pointers in the overtime period to pull away.
Against Hercules, the Tigers again had a chance at the end of regulation, but an ill-timed turnover doomed their chances.
"We've been struggling with offense, but in both of those games we put up good numbers," Crosby said. "Offensively we're starting to put things together. You'd love to have the win, but we're scoring some points. The only thing is, we can't exchange points. Now we focus on the defense."
Los Banos (5-7) opened league play at Central Valley on Thursday (results were unavailable at press time) and head to Patterson (10-2) on Tuesday.
The Los Banos boys host Central Valley tonight to open their Western Athletic Conference campaign.