Pacheco High’s boys basketball team got a jump start on Tuesday when guard Edgar Iglesias returned from a football injury – and his debut came just in time to help the Panthers beat Dos Palos 59-45.
It was a Dos Palos team under new coach Martin Thompson that Pacheco head coach Tyrell Jenkins said will be a tough team to beat again later this year.
“I think they’re going to be an exciting team to watch. They’ve bought into their coach’s philosophy. They played hard,” Jenkins said. “(Noah) Croninger, he’s a real good player for Dos Palos. They seem to have a little more dedication. They seem together, like more of a team.”
Iglesias, who led the Panthers with 14 points, had a similar effect. Pacheco put four players in double digits, with Iglesias, Jose Delacruz, Octavio Jimenez and Juwan Epperson all hitting the 10-point mark. Jenkins said the guard’s return has made the Panthers a better team all around.
“It seems like it’s not just that one guy who was absent is here, but it seemed to fill that void of what we needed, where he’s spreading the ball around and making everyone else better,” Jenkins said. “It seems like they’re buying into it this year. You can see a guy missing two or three shots, and they make the effort to get that extra pass to get him a shot to get him on track. Where before it seemed like everyone was saying, ‘I’m the man of this team and I’m going to show everybody why I’m the man of this team.’ ”
Croninger led the Panthers (0-1) with 21 points, and junior Efrain Del Rio added 8 before fouling out in the fourth. The win put Pacheco (1-3) in the win column.
“It meant a lot. A lot of frustration is gone,” Jenkins said. “They didn’t celebrate, but it was uplifting.”
Pacheco headed to the Tracy-West Holiday Tournament, starting against West, on Thursday night. Results were unavailable at press time. Dos Palos hosts Mariposa on Monday and travels to Los Banos on Tuesday.