LOS BANOS -- The Los Banos boys basketball team put up a fight against Merced on Wednesday night.
Merced, the No. 3-ranked school in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I power ratings, pulled away in the fourth quarter to escape with a 74-58 Central California Conference victory.
"I thought we were a little flat, but we made the plays when we needed to," Merced head coach Marcus Knott said. "For a large part of the game we didn't match (Los Banos') intensity.
"We were on our heels, but at the end of the game the kids were able to raise their level of play."
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The win clinches at least a share of the CCC title for Merced. It's the fourth straight conference championship for Knott's boys.
Midway through the fourth quarter Merced (10-1 CCC) scored seven unanswered points to go ahead by nine, 62-53.
Merced, which was led by Reggie Nelson's 18 points, scored the last six points of the game to make up the final score.
Tyrone Bowie added 17 for Merced. Brian Cooksey added 12 and Otis Caery finished with 13.