TURLOCK -- Phil Etcheverry did his best to shoot Los Banos into business.
The Los Banos senior torched the net, hitting five of his eight 3-pointers in the third quarter on his way to a 27-point performance.
The only problem is that nobody could stop Austin Keaton on the other end.
The Pitman star scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half to help Pitman hold off Los Banos and eventually pull away for a 68-49 victory on Friday night.
"It was almost like tit for tat," said Los Banos coach Joe Barcellos, whose team dropped to 4-2 in the Central California Conference and 14-7 overall.
"We were trading three for two and it didn't work."
Barcellos' boys found themselves facing a 20-point deficit at the half after watching Pitman (4-1 CCC, 13-5) put together a 13-0 run late in the second quarter.
"We just didn't play good half-court defense," Barcellos said. "It didn't matter if we played man or zone. It's not like they did anything we didn't plan for.
"We were just a step slow."
Etcheverry helped Los Banos trim the lead to 47-36 when he sank four 3-pointers in a little over a two-minute stretch of the third quarter.
"We knew he was a shooter and we had to get a hand in his face," Keaton said.
"But once he got started, we couldn't stop him."
Keaton was unstoppable himself.
The senior guard penetrated his way to the basket on just about every second-half possession.
"Our guys knew they had to keep him in front of them," Barcellos said. "He's a tremendous offensive rebounder for a guard.
"We did a poor job of boxing him out."
Etcheverry had a hard time enjoying his shooting performance after a 19-point loss.
"I really don't know what to say because we lost," Etcheverry said.
"I'd rather win and score no points."
The win kept Pitman just one game behind Merced atop the CCC standings.
"That's real big," Keaton said. "We want to be down just one game or tied when (Merced) comes to our place."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOS BANOS 49
At Pitman High (Turlock)
Los Banos 13 4 19 13 -- 49
Pitman 19 18 12 19 -- 68
LOS BANOS --Steven Lowe 2, Phil Etcheverry 27, Nick Gutierrez 4, Tony Faria 2, Andrae Jones 3, Josh Bourbon 5, Richard Dybas 2, Tory Jones 4. Totals 16 7-7 49.
PITMAN --Ryan Clay 2, Mattson Andre 11, Austin Keaton 30, Juan Flores 5, Sam Madden 2, Matt Lavender 2, Adam Lewallen 10. Totals 26 6-9 68.
3-pointers: Los Banos 10 (Etcheverry 8, Jones 1, Bourbon 1), Pitman 4 (Keaton 2, Mattson 1, Flores 1); Team Fouls: Los Banos 11, Pitman 11.
Records: Los Banos 4-2 CCC, 14-7; Pitman 4-1, 13-5.
JV -- Pitman won 47-36.
Frosh -- Los Banos won.