But Patterson, whose latest string of Western Athletic Conference victories dates to the end of the 2011-12 campaign, is not overly concerned with what anyone outside its own circle thinks: Even if the Tigers are heavily favored, the local squad can't look past their league counterparts, who are looking for anything positive to carry into the future.
The Tigers raced out to a big early lead and extended it with a strong start to the second half, rolling past Livingston High in a 71-13 rout Thursday, Jan. 16.
Patterson got contributions from all 11 of its players, shot 58 percent, including 34-of-58 from the field, to pound the Wolves for the second time in five games.
Ariyanna Cashen had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Jovanah Arrington added nine points and three steals for the Tigers. Teammates Dayna Hansen (four rebounds, three steals), Danielle Jenkins (four rebounds, two steals), Kiara Job (three rebounds) and Mele Tupouata (seven rebounds, five steals) finished with eight points, apiece.
One reason for Patterson's success this winter has been the Tigers defense and the way the 11 athletes immediately gelled, coach Elizabeth Tolleson said. Defense is one thing that can remain consistent whether or not the team is actually shooting well and the Tigers' dynamic defense -- zone, traps, man-to-man -- has been extremely reliable.
Patterson (16-4 overall, 5-0 WAC) is averaging 76 points per league game, its opponents are not collectively reaching 26 points a night.
Patterson raced out to a big lead and did not back off Thursday night, hitting the accelerator instead. No way were the Tigers going to let the Livingston Wolves get even a sniff of a comeback.
Livingston had a tough time against the deep, athletic Tigers, who were at their defensive best early, contesting every shot, pass and dribble.
After a solid offensive start in the opening quarter, which eight different Tiger players scored points, Patterson started hitting from everywhere, racing out to a 39-point halftime lead (47-8) while making 22-of-38 shots.
Patterson kept rolling in the second half, and Livingston had a hard time digging out of the cavernous hole.
Tiana Barron and Jenae Jackson (four rebounds, three steals) each had six points for the Tigers, while Povai Fesili added four points, four rebounds and six assists.
One league title, even two, is not the goal. Tolleson, who has spent four seasons as Patterson's coach, has her sights set on morphing the Tigers into one of the region's premier programs. That moniker, which she added would have to be accompanied by conference, division and section success, comes from within the team itself.
The Tigers will continue the conference season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, against host Los Banos High.
Up by one point with eight minutes left, the JV Tigers saw visiting Livingston finish on a 20-13 run to steal a come-from-behind win, 58-52, Thursday, Jan. 16, in a WAC contest at Patterson High School.
The scoring leader for the Tigers was Jadan Rodriguez with 16 points. Emma Hansen scored 11 for Patterson, and Esther Ekueme recorded nine points and 12 rebounds.
Brandy Brown (15 rebounds) and Samantha Dougherty (10 rebounds) each scored eight points for the home team.
Patterson trailed by nine points after the opening eight minutes of the game, but the Tigers outscored the Wolves 18-7 in the second quarter to take a 24-22 lead at the break.
The Tigers had a 39-38 lead after three quarters of Thursday night's game against the Wolves, only to lose by a slim margin for the second league contest in a row.
Ceres High made two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 46-44 victory over the visiting Patterson Tigers on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
With the game tied 44-all, Patterson had an opportunity to take the lead with 10 seconds remaining, but instead Ceres forced a turnover.
The Bulldogs went ahead for good when a player sunk her pair of free throws.
Kajeane Davis scored a team-high 12 points for Patterson, while Brown and Dougherty each tallied seven.
Jaira Luna had a big game Thursday night against visiting Livingston. But her 11-point, 10-rebound, seven-steal performance wasn't nearly enough against the Wolves, who showed a lot more depth and balance in an 53-24 victory.
Jacey Fernandez and Veronica Vargas each contributed four points and five rebounds for Patterson, while Nau Paletua added three points, five rebounds and six steals.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.