The Los Banos High School boys basketball team went from a seemingly unstoppable force one night to a 0-1 team the next.
After winning their Foundation game against Orestimba 68-34 on Monday, the Tigers hit the road on Tuesday and dropped a 55-46 decision to Chowchilla.
“It was a good test for us. Chowchilla lost in their section championship last year, and they return a couple of guys,” Los Banos coach Mike Bonillas said. “It was a good experience for us, and we’re going into the Gustine tournament, where we face Kimball, a Division 1 team.
“I think we’ll learn to grow. We’re going to put some things in. The kids will work hard, and we’ll get past the issues we have.”
The Tigers trailed by 21 heading into the fourth quarter and closed the gap to 5 points, but couldn’t close out the comeback attempt.
The night before, Los Banos throttled an Orestimba team that is on its fifth head coach in five years. Senior J.T. Barcellos led the Tigers with 18 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Foundation game is a scored scrimmage at the start of the season that raises funds for the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Dale Lackey Scholarship Fund. The game does not count in either team’s overall record or against a team’s maximum of 27 contacts in the season.
“Finally, we get a chance to play somebody else instead of beating each other up, and I think the guys were excited,” Bonillas said. “You could tell on the way some of the guys jumped the gun a little bit, and their moves and, you know, happy feet, and shooting the ball really hard and stuff.
“I think we’ll just keep getting better. That’s the exciting part. As long as we all stay healthy and everybody accepts their roles, and I think we did that tonight. The bench was good; the bench played a big role.
“Guys were happy to go in and happy to come out, so we’re really building a team atmosphere, and it makes us happy to see as a coaching staff.”
Los Banos took a 17-2 lead and never looked back, leading 36-11 at halftime. Barcellos scored the Tigers’ first 7 points with a pair of 3-pointers with a foul on one of them. Defensively, Los Banos kept the Warriors in check.
“Everybody got to play, everybody played their role, and I felt like we came out with a bang, and we really shot the ball well in the beginning,” Bonillas said. “J.T. really got it started, and we played really well on defense. I think we had a 15-0 run at some point, or 17-0 run. We were really putting it to them on the defensive end.”
Brevin Welch added 10 points for the Tigers, followed by Alec Barcellos with 9 and Jesse Hernandez with 8.
The win did cost the Tigers when guard Daniel Aguirre went down with a knee injury early in the second quarter. He sat the rest of the game with ice on his knee.