But at some point, the dream would have to end. And if it had to end, at least the Tigers went down with a fight against a formidable opponent in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
Patterson (24-3) hung close with Placer High (25-4) for most of the game Thursday, Feb. 21, but ultimately the Hillmen were too much for the No. 5-seed Tigers. No. 4 Placer clinched a Division III semifinals berth with a 58-44 home victory.
Sophomore Shealyn Craven scored 13 points, Jovanah Arrington had 10 and fellow junior Mele Tupouata added nine for the Tigers, who had their 13-game winning streak snapped by Placer.
Sophomore Ariyanna Cashen tallied six points and five rebounds off the bench for Patterson.
The Tigers did themselves no favors from the free throw line, hitting just 12 of 30 attempts. Patterson converted on just 2 of 13 tries from the charity stripe in the second half.
Patterson never led, although it did come within two points of Placer on five different occasions in the first half.
A pair of free throws by junior Kiara Job cut the deficit to 15-14 with 5:13 remaining before halftime. But the Hillmen capped the second quarter with a narrow 13-8 advantage, and had a 28-22 lead at the break.
Placer pushed its lead to 13, at 38-25, midway through the third quarter on a layup by Kerry McCollough.
Craven answered, scoring 11 points in the period, including three 3's in a span of 3 minutes, 14 seconds.
But Patterson could get no closer than eight, as the Hillmen made the most of their second-chance opportunites, and took a 44-35 lead into the final eight minutes.
A 3-pointer by Arrington and a pair of layups by Cashen helped cut the Placer advantage to 48-42 with 3:32 left.
Led by five points from Baylee Vanderdoes, however, the Hillmen outscored the visitors 10-2 the rest of the way.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.