At the final buzzer, about a hundred Beyer High students flew out of the stands to mob their favorite boys' basketball team.
All of them knew their Patriots had won 67-62 in overtime on Gregori's floor. Some of them probably knew that the Jaguars had entered the game as the lone undefeated team in Modesto Metro Conference play.
But none of them, save for a few heady seniors, possibly could comprehend how much this victory meant to Beyer and head coach Brandon Hellstrom in a much larger, state-of-the-program sense.
Hellstrom has earned his prematurely gray hair in three previous seasons at the Patriots' helm seasons in which his teams compiled a 9-71 record and seldom were in position to challenge anyone near the top of the MMC.
Now they are.
"It's been awhile for Beyer and it feels nice personally, but I'm more happy for the kids," said Hellstrom, whose players performed well enough to throw the MMC race wide open.
The Patriots, who now have won more games this season than in the previous three combined, are 10-10 overall are 3-2 in the MMC. Gregori is 9-9, 3-1.
The two are the lone teams in the league at or above .500 overall, which won't bode well when it comes time to place MMC teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. But that was the furthest thing from the minds of the players as they performed in front of a loud and excited crowd.
"This means a lot," said Anthony Galloway, who led all scorers with 21 points. Last year, as a junior, Galloway averaged four points per game.
"We never really won before, and now we're starting to win," Galloway said. "This started over the summer when we starting working on this team. Everybody got together and we started believing in ourselves, and this is what happens."
Beyer looked to be in position to win running away, as Galloway scored eight points in the third quarter to push the Patriots to a 45-35 lead.
"We got into Beyer's style a little in the first half, a little dribble and helter skelter, which Beyer's really good at doing," said Gregori coach Mike Vander Molen, who was the head coach at Beyer before moving to the city's newest high school following the 2007-08 season. "We played better later and made a nice comeback."
The Jags scored the final three points of the third quarter, then opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 47-45 lead. Junior guard Darius Nuttall scored nine of his team-high 19 points during the surge.
Gregori took a three-point lead into the final two minutes of regulation, but Julian Orozco drilled a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Then he hit two more 3-pointers in the extra session.
Orozco finished with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and allowed the Patriots to take leads as large as nine points in the overtime session.
"I thought we were pretty focused, but Beyer needed this win more than we did and at times they looked like that kind of team," Vander Molen said. "They did what they do better than we did what we do."
But Hellstrom faced the tough question when he was asked when the last time was that Beyer won a basketball game of this magnitude.
Hellstrom glanced back and gestured toward the near side of the Beyer bench.
"Since Mike Vander Molen was gracing that chair."
Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150. Find his blog at thehive.modbee.com/thurman.