Pacheco's boys basketball team evened the score on Friday with a 47-37 victory over crosstown rival Los Banos. In two years of varsity play, the teams are 2-2 against each other, with both of Pacheco's wins coming in this year's sweep.
"This means a lot to us," Pacheco guard Edgar Iglesias said. "Throughout the year, we had our ongoing game plan, but you know, these two games for LB, this rivalry that we have, is the most important, because this rivalry means everything to us. We want to beat them, and we want to show them who's best."
The win came before a packed house at LBHS, with Pacheco's Le'Andre Wright leading all scorers with 13 points. Sophomore Juwan Epperson added 10 for the Panthers. James Sams led the Tigers with 9 points.
"The atmosphere is great -- the fans, everything, I'm loving it," said Iglesias, who finished with 6 points as Pacheco's traditional scoring tandem of Iglesias and fellow guard Daniel Marquez struggled against stiff Los Banos defense. "It pumped us up throughout the whole game."
Pacheco, which normally lives and dies by the 3-pointer, hit just two from beyond the arc -- one for Iglesias and one for Tarron Blackmon.
"They were trying to be patient, sticking to the game plan -- it seemed like they enjoyed the atmosphere," Pacheco coach Tyrell Jenkins said about his players. "I think the bigger the atmosphere -- if we could pack Pacheco every time, I think we would play better. I'm serious. The two times we played them, I think this is the best we played."
With both teams already out of playoff contention -- they finished the bottom two teams in the Western Athletic Conference, with Pacheco at 3-9 and Los Banos at 1-11 -- the game became a de facto championship game.
"It's fun to be in this atmosphere. It's better when you're winning and you're competing," Jenkins said. "It's just a little more enjoyable than coming here and getting beat up all the time and seeing my kids cry. I can go see my kids celebrate right now. It's a real great feeling for a coach.
"Now I've got to get everyone to show up for refereeing tomorrow."
Pacheco took a 9-8 lead on a Wright bucket (and 1, but he missed the free throw) with about 3 minutes left in the first quarter, and the Panthers didn't look back. Blackmon's 3-pointer extended the lead to 9 points near halftime, then worked it up to 15 early in the fourth quarter on a 2 by Lakhan Patel. LB never got closer than 8 points in the second half.
Pacheco finished the season with a 62-35 loss to Patterson on Tuesday, while Los Banos lost 56-38 to Livingston.