The first round of the NorCal basketball playoffs often leads teams into the great unknown.
You see the unfamiliar name of your opponent, Google it to find its location, then start looking for places to get video in an attempt to do a little scouting.
And even those videos can be misleading. For instance, when Patterson High girls’ coach Elizabeth Tolleson looked at game film of Sebastopol’s Analy High, she saw a team with enough scrappiness and talent to give her Tigers fits.
But in a case of a team looking more competitive on film, Patterson disposed of Analy with nary a moment of stress, advancing to the second round of the Division 3 NorCal playoffs Wednesday night with a 64-17 victory.
“I was expecting a little better competition,” said senior guard Jovannah Arrington. “I thought they’d be bigger than they were because they looked bigger on film. But we out and played hard, so we got what we got.”
What the Tigers got was a lopsided win, and what they earned is a place in school history. This Patterson team, now 26-5, became the first girls’ basketball team in school history to reach the second round of the NorCal playoffs.
“It feels good to make history,” Arrington said. “I’ve never lost a game in this gym, and I was hoping to keep that going today. I’m happy that we made history and are going to the second round.”
Up ahead for the eighth-seeded Tigers is a 243-mile trek to Redding for a game Saturday against top-seeded Enterprise.
Modesto Christian, the No. 2 seed, is on the other side of the bracket, which means the only way Patterson could get a rematch of its 11-point section semifinal loss to the Crusaders would be to reach the NorCal championship game.
According to Tolleson, the bitter taste of that defeat on MC’s court has remained with the team.
“We had a lot to do to redeem ourselves after the way we played in the last game,” Tolleson said. “They were down on themselves, but tonight they went out and got after it. They worked their tails off in practice so they wouldn’t get into that predicament again.”
To say the Tigers were prepared for Analy was an understatement. The visitors opened in a 3-2 zone defense, which Patterson immediately recognized and beat for a layup. Moments later, Analy slapped a press on the Tigers, who ripped through it for a layup.
As if the visitors weren’t demoralized enough by Patterson’s 10-0 run, they lost their own spark plug – freshman guard Bailey Hunter – to a left knee injury less than three minutes into the action.
Meanwhile, Analy – 19-12 but only 7-12 in non-league play – never did solve Patterson’s press, which forced 32 turnovers through three quarters, after which the press was pulled for the final eight minutes of running clock action.
The Tigers led 22-6 after one quarter, then nearly pitched a shutout in the second quarter to take a 38-8 halftime lead. In all, 10 Patterson players scored, led by by Kiara Job with 12 points, Arrington with 11 and Povai Fesili with 10.
Both teams played their young players in the fourth quarter, giving the home fans a chance to see the bright, athletic future of Tigers’ girls’ basketball.
But for this team, the future comes Saturday. And as far as advance scouting reports are concerned, well, maybe the film will show something. Maybe.
“The only thing I know is that they’re No. 1 and we’re No. 8 and we go play them on Saturday,” Arrington said.