LOS BANOS — Pacheco High's boys basketball team cleared a hurdle Wednesday with a 51-40 victory over Los Banos, the second-year program's first win over its crosstown rival.
Now the Panthers (10-9, 2-4 in Western Athletic Conference play) are looking at a desperate shot at a playoff berth.
"Every year you're going to have this circled on your calendar to play Los Banos," Pacheco coach Tyrell Jenkins said. "We always want to try to get the monkey off your back and get a little respect around here, and it goes through them.
"It feels great. It really does. Right now playoffs are a far distance for me. I'm living in the moment."
Pacheco's defense caused trouble early, giving up just one Los Banos bucket in the first quarter, and the offense took over in a 21-point second quarter.
Los Banos closed the gap to 10 points midway through the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Isaac Ruiz -- a junior who played his freshman year with Pacheco.
"It means a lot. It's this crosstown rival. It's just great fun," said Pacheco guard Daniel Marquez, who led the field with 19 points. "It feels good. I can't wait to face them again. I'm already thinking about it, but I feel next time it should be by more."
While Los Banos spread the scoring around, most of Pacheco's points came from its guard duo of Marquez (19 points) and Edgar Iglesias (16 points).
The Panthers' swing passes around the perimeter left shooters open.
"The plan was just getting through our sets. If we run our sets, not many teams can guard us," Marquez said. "We get a lot of teams lost, especially if they go man to man. If they go zone, we get each other wide open shots."
Each time Los Banos closed the gap to 10 points, either Iglesias or Marquez struck from beyond the arc. A Marquez 3 gave Pacheco an insurmountable 48-33 lead with 3:24 remaining.
"He's just riding a streak. He's a senior who doesn't want to stop playing," Jenkins said. "I've got to give it to the whole team, because this is Los Banos. Everybody wants to make their name here, and a lot of people sacrificed for Daniel to get shots off."