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Livingston can't clinch

LIVINGSTON -- A big crowd gathered at Livingston High Tuesday night hoping to see a 22-year championship drought come to an end.

The Livingston faithful will have to wait two more days.

Patterson spoiled the celebration by erasing a 14-point deficit in the second half on its way to an 86-79 win.

"We didn't seal the deal," said Livingston coach Angelo Naldi, whose team dropped to 11-3 in the Western Athletic Conference and 21-6 overall.

"Now the best we can hope for is a co-championship."

Naldi's boys seemed to have everything on their side.

Livingston rebounded after a rough start.

Harnarinder Johal and Josh Avina helped Livingston battle back from an early 15-point hole.

Patterson (9-5, 18-8) blitzed Livingston with its full-court press from the opening whistle.

Kent Foster and Felix Mapanda -- who each finished with 19 points -- led the charge as Patterson built a 28-13 lead late in the first quarter.

Then Livingston settled down and broke the press easily.

Johal and Avina combined for 23 points in the second quarter as Livingston took a 45-41 lead into the half.

Johal finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Avina scored a game-high 24 points.

When Johal and company extended the lead to 59-45 with 6:34 left in the third, it appeared Livingston would clinch at least a share of its first league title since 1987.

"Both teams have basically switched places this year," Patterson coach Tony Lomeli said. "(Livingston) has wanted it more than us this year. I'll say that.

"It wasn't until this week until our guys wanted it. Tonight you could tell we wanted it."

Patterson picked up the intensity and stormed back into the game.

Livingston failed to protect the basketball and stopped getting the ball to Johal.

"It's not that we couldn't get it to him, it's we didn't," Naldi said.

"There were times he was open and we didn't get him the ball."

Patterson cut the lead to 63-60 by the end of the third quarter.

Justin Nuckolls then came up with two big drives in the final two minutes as Patterson closed the game with a 17-5 run.

Livingston dropped into a first-place tie atop the WAC with Central Catholic.

"We didn't take care of the ball," Naldi said. "We didn't do the things we were doing in the first half.

"We took a couple 3s that we didn't need to take and we left too big of a window for a couple of their shooters.

"They had two big 3s by Foster and (Daniel) Reza."

At Livingston

Patterson 28 13 19 26 -- 86

Livingston 16 29 18 16 -- 79

PATTERSON -- Kent Foster 19, Daniel Reza 11, Felix Mapanda 19, Ronyea Ellington 13, Justin Nuckolls 8, Ramone Ellington 4, Chris Tafoa 8, Imani Brown 4. Totals: 32 14-24 86.

LIVINGSTON -- Brian Alvarez 7, Chris Modi 1, Josh Avina 24, Brian Rivera 11, Harnarinder Johal 22, Dorian Campos 14. Totals: 30 18-32 79.

3-pointers: Patterson 6 (Reza 3, Foster 2, Mapanda 1), Livingston 1 (Alvarez 1); Team Fouls: Patterson 24, Livingston 22; Fouled Out -- Mapanda (P), Campos (L), Avina (L).

Records: Patterson 9-5 WAC, 18-8 overall; Livingston 11-3, 21-6.

JV -- Patterson 61-41.

Freshmen -- Livingston won.

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