Improving to 24-2 overall, the Tigers extended their win streak to 12 while maintaining a perfect WAC record at 12-0.
It’s the first conference championship for Patterson since the 2009-10 season, and the first undefeated campaign for the program since 1978.
“This is a big deal for our team, because we have put in so much time and work throughout the course of the season,” said Patterson coach Elizabeth Tolleson. “It’s taken us some time, but we are building confidence and starting to see results.”
The No. 5-seed Tigers head back to the Patterson High gymnasium on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to face No. 12 Oakmont High of Roseville (19-8, 5-5 Capital Valley League) in the opening round of the Division III playoffs. It will be the first postseason girls basketball game played at Patterson High since 2003, according to Tolleson.
On Tuesday, sophomore Shealyn Craven pumped in 16 points, and teammate junior Jovanah Arrington added 11 for the Tigers, who have won 23 of their past 24 games.
Juniors Mele Tupouata (seven rebounds) and Dayna Hansen (six rebounds) each chipped in six points for Patterson.
“We have all worked really hard for this (league title),” Hansen said. “It was a goal of ours at the start of the season, and it means a lot to all of us.”
Patterson got off to a cold start from the field in its final league game of the season, committing eight first-quarter turnovers.
But the Tigers played strong defense, which allowed them to pull away from a Pacheco squad (6-18, 0-12 WAC) celebrating its first Senior Night.
The first six minutes of the game featured five lead changes, but Patterson led 12-6 heading into the second quarter.
The Tigers tightened their defense in the second quarter and outscored Pacheco 16-5 in the period to take a commanding 28-11 halftime lead.
“At halftime, our coach talked to us about how much we should all really want to win this game,” Tupouata said. “After that, we started to work harder and appreciate the position that we were in.”
Patterson continued to pour it on after the intermission, steamrolling the Panthers 31-7 the rest of the way.
Tuesday’s win followed a 60-51 home victory against Central Catholic High (16-7, 8-4) on Feb. 5.
A pregame ceremony honoring the two Tigers seniors — Shantel Perez and Janel Ortega — primed Patterson for a strong start against the Modesto school.
Arrington recorded a game-high 20 points; Craven had 14, including three 3-pointers; and Tupouata tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Going forward into playoffs, this season has built confidence in the players,” Tolleson said. “But we are going to continue to work hard. We cannot let up. It’s going to take four quarters of us playing our best to be successful in the postseason.”
The JV Tigers (16-8, 7-5 Western Athletic Conference) won two league games in a week’s time — an 80-13 rout of Pacheco High in Los Banos on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and a 48-31 victory Feb. 5 at home against Central Catholic High of Modesto.
On Tuesday, Ariyanna Cashen scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Patterson. Teammates Julia Sill (six assists, five rebounds) and Maria Cortez added 15 points each, while Stephanie Esqueda tallied 11 points and four boards.
The week before, Cashen had 21 points and 17 rebounds and Sill added 10 points and five boards as Patterson used a big first-quarter surge to beat Central Catholic.
The freshman Tigers lost to Pacheco 31-21 on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Danyelle DeForest recorded eight points and 10 rebounds, and Paula Diaz added six points and seven boards in the losing effort.
Ana Martin contributed 11 rebounds and three points.
Patterson also fell to Central Catholic, 51-26, on Feb. 5.
The Tigers (1-15, 0-12 Western Athletic Conference) were paced by Martin, who scored eight points to go with 13 rebounds. Diaz (four rebounds) scored seven points and DeForest (four rebounds) added five.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.