The Los Banos High boys basketball team edged over .500 for the first time this season with Tuesday’s 62-45 win over Waterford on Tuesday, with Brevin Welch’s four 3-pointers leading the way.
All of Welch’s 14 points came in the first half, but he said the team’s focus is on the other side of the floor.
“It all starts with the defense. Our defense is what’s going to win us games,” Welch said. “Our shooting’s going to be there, sometimes it’s not going to be there, so we kind of rely on our defense a lot. That’s what we emphasize a lot in practice. But we try to move the ball around to get a lot of guys open shots.
“We started utilizing Alec (Barcellos) a lot more this past tournament, trying to get him the ball down low and get him to the line. We’ve noticed we have a lot of mismatches for him, so we just try to swing the ball, get the ball around, run our plays – sometimes we execute them, sometimes we don’t – and go from there.”
Barcellos added 12 points, J.T. Barcellos (no relation) scored another 9, and Justin Delgado added 9 off the bench. Both Barcellos’ have stepped up to take a bigger role with the Tigers – Alec in the paint and J.T. everywhere else. Where a year ago J.T. was content to sit on the perimeter and take pot shots, he has started off his senior season with fearless slashes into the post, making a bigger contribution on the inside.
“If we have a scorer, (J.T.)’s definitely it,” Los Banos coach Mike Bonillas said. “I told him, that’s going to be our key to success is going to be him shooting the ball well. It’s going to be hard for us to be successful if he’s not shooting the ball well.”
Welch, a junior who has taken on the nickname B3, has come on strong early this season, adding an outside shot to J.T. Barcellos’ established long-range success. Welch moved up to the varsity baseball team his sophomore year, so he got a feel for the way a game changes from the JV to varsity levels.
“I kind of understood the speed of the game, how it got quicker. I played summer basketball with Mike, and we played in a Livingston league, so I was able to adjust to it. I’m a quick learner,” Welch said. “... I look up to J.T. He’s a big role model for me on this team. We shoot around before practices and everything. I kind of rely on him just like he relies on me. He never lets me get down. We’re basically like brothers, keep each other up, keep each other motivated and everything.”
Los Banos (3-2) dropped the opener of the Gustine Tournament 65-41 to Kimball on Dec. 5, but bounced back to win the next two and take the consolation championship.
“We didn’t want to let that one hurt us too much,” Welch said. “We recognized what we were doing wrong, we kind of just put that game in the back of our mind, and what we need to do to improve and get better each day now. Even in practice, we know some teams aren’t as good as other teams, so we have to make ourselves better by going at each other 100 percent.”
With the Tiger Classic junior varsity tournament this weekend, the varsity squad is off until Tuesday’s home game against Dos Palos, which is 0-1 after a season-opening loss to Pacheco.