Los Banos

Ceres bests Los Banos in last-minute surge

Los Banos High’s boys basketball team dropped a heartbreaker on Friday, losing 46-44 to Ceres after leading the entire game.

Ceres’ Austin Stiles drained what turned out to be the winning 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining in the game. Los Banos had several shots miss in the final few possessions. J.T. Barcellos, who hit five 3-pointers in the game, shot one last off-balance attempt from the top of the key under extreme pressure, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim.

“This happened a couple of games before, where we have to be ready for the moment. We’re not ready for the moment,” Los Banos coach Mike Bonillas said. “We’re ready for the game, but when it comes down to it, are you ready for that moment? Are you confident, you’ve worked hard, and this one possession is going to determine the whole game.”

Barcellos led all scorers with 18 points. Harmon Chung led Ceres with 13. The Bulldogs trailed 17-13 after the first half, with Chung scoring 10 of those 13 Ceres points in the first half.

“Yeah, but we gave up 30 in the second half,” Bonillas said. “That’s great, but it only matters how you finish. It doesn’t matter how you start. We were up the whole game. So, you’ve just got to be ready for the moment.”

LB mounted a slight early lead and held it until Stiles took it with 55 second remaining. Every time the Tigers looked like they were going to pull away, the Bulldogs pulled them back in. Ceres tied the game 22-22 early in the third, but a Barcellos 3-pointer put LB back on top. Early in the fourth, Los Banos went up 38-33 before Ceres closed back in, and again later with a 42-36 lead before Ceres again closed the gap.

“I thought the guys played great, I thought we played together, and I think that they’re starting to get the fact that we need to play together,” Bonillas said. “We don’t have the players that somebody’s going to take over the game. Everybody’s a role player and everybody’s got to play their part. And I think tonight we did a good job of that. I felt like the guys kind of came together, some of them accepted their roles this week, and some of them are still trying to figure out what they’re good at.”

The Tigers dropped Wednesday’s game to Patterson to remain winless in the Western Athletic Conference, and get a rematch tonight with cross-town rival Pacheco at Pacheco. The Panthers, who lost to Central Catholic on Friday and Central Valley on Wednesday, defeated Los Banos 64-54 earlier this season.