Los Banos High’s girls basketball team has three games to figure things out.
With two players leaving the team last month and others dealing with injuries, the Tigers have lost three straight and, after Tuesday’s 44-34 loss to Central Valley, the Hawks closed the gap between them to half a game – Los Banos is 5-4 in the Western Athletic Conference, while Central Valley is 4-4. (Results of Thursday’s CV-Patterson game were unavailable at press time.)
“If we do what we’re supposed to do and win basketball games it should work itself out,” Los Banos coach Danny Crosby said. “They still have Patterson twice. We have Central Valley once, Central Catholic once, and Livingston. We need to win all three, or at least two of the three (to make playoffs).”
The Tigers have themselves a mess. The defections thrust several players into bigger roles, which has taken adjustment, and Crosby called up one player from the junior varsity team to help with depth.
In addition to lingering injuries – Nicole Marchese’s sprained thumb has bothered her shooting for much of the season, and sophomore guard Keiloni Smith is still out with a knee sprain – and a few others have popped up.
Post player Miriam Guzman is out with a twisted knee and may not return by the end of the regular season. Her partner in the paint, Evelyn Johnson, is playing with a strained shoulder.
But Crosby hopes the team’s fotunes are looking up. Thursday’s off day gives the Tigers five days to practice between games, and hopefully Smith will return to the lineup on Monday.
“That gives me a chance to get the freshman we moved up more involved, and work on some things like ball movement,” Crosby said. “Once we get that going, we’ll be OK, but I don’t anticipate us losing two of the last three.
“Since I’ve been coaching varsity basketball, I’ve made the playoffs the last 20 years, and I’d hate to lose that streak. I thought we’d do (better) and have a 20-plus win season, but you can’t cry over spilled milk.”
The Tigers start the final stretch with a pair of home games: Tuesday against Central Catholic and Thursday against Patterson.
Pacheco’s girls, meanwhile, failed to turn their first-ever league win into a streak, dropping a Jan. 30 game against Ceres 50-45 after defeating Central Valley 35-30 two days before. The Panthers fell to league-leading Patterson 59-22 on Tuesday.
The Panthers played Livingston on Thursday (results were unavailable at press time), and finishes on the road against Ceres (2-11, 2-5 WAC) on Tuesday and Patterson (20-4, 9-0) on Thursday.