Pacheco boys survive last-minute Los Banos rally

Pacheco High’s boys basketball team pushed its record to .500 for the first time this year, and the Panthers did it with a 64-54 victory over cross-town rival Los Banos on Friday night.

Pacheco senior guard Edgar Iglesias torched the Los Banos defense for 30 points, and also spent much of the night defending LB’s top scoring threat, J.T. Barcellos.

“We played bad. That’s it,” Los Banos coach Mike Bonillas said. “We need to do a better job of finding Edgar Iglesias.”

Bonillas knows all too well the damage Iglesias can do – he coached the Pacheco freshman team that included Iglesias three years ago. Now they face each other as opponents in the rivalry, in which Iglesias has helped Pacheco to three straight wins. Iglesias said he thrives on the intense atmosphere.

“I tell (the younger players) to embrace it,” Iglesias said. “They’re here to watch you play, you know? Enjoy the game.”

Barcellos scored 14 points (most of it on four 3-pointers) to tie with Brevin Welch for LB’s team high. Iglesias’ teammates Juwan Epperson and Jose Delacruz each added 10 for the Panthers.

“They told us from the start that he’d be the main one we’d have to look for, and as a defender you have to stay up on him,” Iglesias said about Barcellos. “But he made his shots. He’s a good player.”

Pacheco took a small lead early on and never gave it up, although the Tigers made a run in the fourth quarter with a flurry of 3-pointers. An Alec Barcellos layup off an offensive rebound cut the lead to 57-54, but Pacheco’s Brandon Shoals salted the victory by draining a pair of free throws to make it a 5-point game with less than a minute remaining.

“They have some very good shooters on their side,” Pacheco coach Tyrell Jenkins said. “I told them to extend our defense and make them drive. And on the offensive side, now it’s time to run our offense. Time to know where everybody’s going to be, and get them to chase us around a little bit and then score.”

LB and Pacheco face each other again on Jan. 24 at Pacheco High.