LIVINGSTON — Pacheco High’s girls basketball team had its first league win in hand Tuesday, but dropped off in the second half to lose 51-41 to Livingston.
The Panthers led 26-17 as the first half wound down, but Livingston forward Yareli Millan made two buckets to close the lead before the break. Millan finished with 22 points, 16 of them in the second half.
“We come out in the third quarter, we stop rebounding, they immediately start the second half getting second and third shots right off the first two possessions, we open up and turn the ball over – just out of control offense,” Pacheco coach Michael Perkins said. “These are the things. We’ve got to learn to be consistent for four quarters. They’re doing a much better job of so many things, and they’re so much better than at this point last year, but they’ve got to believe that.”
Livingston chipped away at Pacheco’s lead throughout the third quarter and finally took a 34-32 lead on a Millan basket with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Pacheco never regained the lead.
“They’ve proven now two games in a row they can play with teams in the league,” Perkins said. “They’re there with Central Catholic for three quarters, this is a game all the way to the end, even though they feel like we probably should have flipped the result a bit, because of blown, you know, 10 for 23 from the free throw line, and then shooting roughly 12-for-33 on layups. With those types of statistics, you’ve got to feel like if we would take care of business, we would be on the positive end of that score.”
For Livingston, the win offered a boost of confidence after a 2-8 preseason.
“They just wanted it. They finally wanted it,” said Livingston junior varsity coach Nina Garcia, who helmed the varsity team in the absence of head coach Raymond Maravilla on Tuesday. “They didn’t have a good preseason, but they finally started getting clicking, and they just decided that they wanted it more.”
Pacheco guard Sam Rodriguez equaled Millan’s 22 points, but once Livingston went to a full-court press, the Pacheco offense fell apart. The Panthers gave up 33 turnovers.
“Early in the game, we were really out of control with the ball and turned it over 9 times in the first quarter, and second quarter we really settled down with the ball,” Perkins said. “We were playing defense properly, challenging shots properly, doing a lot of positive things. We go fundamental, we run our offense properly and we rip them apart, whether they’re in zone or man, and then come out in the third quarter and we stop boxing out.”
Perkins has taken a more relaxed approach to his sideline demeanor this season, but that went out the window on Tuesday. In fact, both Perkins and Garcia gave their vocal cords a workout.
“Tonight was a rough one, but it was a bit intentional,” Perkins said. “I talked to them about that after the game. I said, ‘Tonight was intentional, I didn’t see that fire, I didn’t see the intensity. We look like we don’t want to be here right now.’ So I tried to start a fire.”