ATWATER — The Pacheco girls basketball team executed pretty well from its half-court sets.
The problem on Monday evening was being able to get into them.
The Atwater defense applied relentless pressure, particularly from the second quarter on, and the Panthers simply couldn't get off enough shots to give themselves a chance.
The Falcons forced 48 turnovers and only allowed seven shots in a decisive second quarter as Atwater cruised to a 46-33 victory on its home court.
"For whatever reason, we seem to be slow starters," Falcons head coach J.R. Davis said. "Our focus and energy was much better to start the second quarter and that was pretty much the difference.
"We need to find a way to take the court with that intensity."
Despite its turnover troubles, Pacheco (2-3) did a good job of keeping things close at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a different story, however, as the Falcons' intensified pressure began resulting in easy transition points.
The Panthers turned the ball over eight times in the first two minutes of the second quarter as Atwater went up 17-5 with a quick 10-0 run.
The Falcons were just getting started.
Natalie Govea scored six of her game-high 12 points and Brianne Hunter (11 points and game-high 17 rebounds and five steals) chipped in four as they took a commanding 23-7 lead with a 16-2 run.
Pacheco managed to keep things respectable, closing the quarter with a mini 7-2 run to make it 25-14 at the half. The Panthers were outshot 40-18 in the first half.
"It takes us a little while to get everything turned on, but once everyone gets on the same page it becomes very smooth," said. Falcons junior Mayra Mora, who finished with 11 points. "We're almost entirely juniors, so there's not a lot of varsity experience yet, but I think it's going to keep getting better."
Atwater threatened to break the game open with another fast start to the third quarter.
Mora scored back-to-back layups on steals to spark an 8-0 run.
The Panthers answered back behind Clarissa Garcia's 11 points off the bench, with an 8-0 run of their own.
But Pacheco never got any closer.
"We started strong and then kind of ran out of steam," Davis said. "You get a nice lead, you can't let teams back into it.
"I like where this team is headed. If we can maintain our intensity for a whole game, we should be good."