Pacheco High’s boys basketball team held on to defeat Ceres 51-44 on Wednesday, using speed to overcome the Bulldogs’ size.
Pacheco guard Edgar Iglesias led all scorers with 24 points as the Panthers counted a Ceres lineup anchored by 6-foot-4 center Harmon Chung by going with a four-guard formation, with passes swinging around the perimeter like a shell drill.
“There’s nothing more we can do,” Pacheco coach Tyrell Jenkins said. “All we do is try to go four and offensively, hopefully it will give them an advantage, and defensively we’ll try to trap the big guy every time he touches it in the post. I thought we did a decent job. He got a couple of putbacks, and outrebounded us a few times, but I’m hoping our speed is going to wear out their size. They’ve got to help and rotate.”
Iglesias helped Pacheco jump out early, scoring nine of Pacheco’s 15 first-quarter points. Neither offense did much in the second quarter (Pacheco outscored Ceres 4-3), but Ceres forward Warren “Nick” Burt earned his fourth foul near the end of the first half, effectively removing him from the rest of the game.
Pacheco gathered steam during a 19-point third quarter, with the open Ceres zone defense leading to one-on-one opportunities against Chung. Pacheco opened up a 28-18 lead before Ceres went on a six-point run, but a pair of Iglesias three-point plays (a layup with a free throw and an open three-pointer) opened the lead to 10 points again.
“Our plays, what they’re for is to spread out the floor to drive and kick and look for the open man,” Iglesais said. “And that’s what we did tonight and we succeeded.”
When a timeout stopped the action with 1:07 remaining in the game, Pacheco led 49-34. Ceres went on a 10-2 run over the last minute with judicious use of fouls and timeouts.
Chung did his damage, earning a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards, and forward Austin Stiles led Ceres with 16 points. Guard Juwan Epperson added 11 for Pacheco, and Iglesias snatched nine rebounds.
“What we needed to do was focus on the big man, when he gets the ball, we’ve been practicing how to double-team the big man,” Iglesias said. “Always giving help, always looking for that lob pass to the big guy, make sure we get that nice seal against the big man so he doesn’t have a free way to score. That was basically it.”
With Chung standing a full head taller than Maurice Harden, the man Pacheco tabbed to defend him, Ceres outrebounded the Panthers 36-24.
“Every night. I think we are the smallest team in our league. Livingston’s got bigger guys than us – everybody,” Jenkins said. “I think our guys are buying into what we’re doing. I’m finally getting that group to do it, and it’s showing. Five wins in league, that’s the most wins we’ve had here since I started.”
Meanwhile, up in Modesto, the Los Banos team, still winless in league, battled Central Catholic, still undefeated in league, to a tough 55-42 loss.