Second-half surge leads PHS past Vanden
by Marc Aceves | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 21, 2013 | 1427 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Junior Cariaun Williams scored 14 points to lead four players in double figures and Patterson High's varsity boys basketball team locked down defensively in the second half to beat visiting Vanden High of Fairfied 69-61 on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Kevin Phelps tallied 13 points and six blocks, Jordan Levu scored 12 points to go with a game-high 20 rebounds and John Minton added 11 points for the Tigers, who won the first postseason boys basketball game played at Patterson High since 2008.

"I think we came out a little tight," said Patterson coach Agustin Arreola. "This was a moment that they've been looking forward to -- the program hasn't hosted a playoff game in a while -- so I attribute our early struggles to pressure."

Patterson, seeded No. 6, travels to Orangevale on Friday, Feb. 22, to face No. 3 Casa Roble High (22-6) in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

Phelps, a sophomore, filled in admirably for senior starter Skylar Job, who was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup with a stomach virus, Arreola said.

"I never doubted (Phelps') ability. But it's playoffs, it's a whole other level," Arreola said. "It could have been too much for a young man, but it definitely wasn't. He was one of our best players tonight."

Levu, a junior, also played a key role for the Tigers in their win over Vanden, the coach added.

"Even when Jordan's shot isn't falling, he's going to go out and fill up the stat sheets," Arreola said. "Having a player like that who can shut down another team's best player on defense provides us versatility."

Cranking up its defense after halftime, Patterson (22-6 overall) not only erased a seven-point deficit against Vanden but created a lead heading into the fourth.

Paced by four 3-pointers, two apiece from Minton and fellow senior Keegan Sanchez (nine points), the Tigers outscored the visitors 21-11 in the third period to take a lead it would not relinquish.

The first half featured two ties and four lead changes.

Levu registered the first three points of the second quarter to put the Tigers ahead 15-14 with 6 minutes, 38 seconds left before halftime. But the Vikings (17-11) ended the period on a 14-6 run, and had a 28-21 lead at the intermission.

"Offensively, I thought that we were really forcing the issue in the first half," Arreola said. "We needed to make some adjustments in our offense to get the players to be more patient.

"Once we started to play together, things started to open up and it put a lot of pressure on their defense."

A 3-pointer by Brandon Davis put Vanden up by eight, 33-25, with 6:50 left in the third.

But the Tigers quickly answered by knocking down three consecutive 3's, taking a 34-33 edge. The offensive barrage got the hometown crowd into the game, as Patterson fed off the energy of its fans.

"This was win or go home, and we didn't want our season to end," Levu said. "We fight to the finish."

Patterson led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter, 64-51, using a 20-9 run to pull away for good.

"Our season doesn't end tonight. We're not content with winning a first-round game" Arreola said. "We have a certain amount of confidence heading into Friday night."

Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or marc@pattersonirrigator.com.

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