It’s just one of those seasons for the Sonora High School varsity boys basketball team.
When the basket seems bigger, when speed overpowers size. When hard work pays off and inspires even harder work.
So it has been the ‘Cats who this week moved to 9-0 in Mother Lode League play.
Their latest win came against Calaveras.
The Wildcats had them on their heels from the start. They were up 14-7 at the end of first quarter and at the half they were cruising at 43-22.
That score already had the team fired up, said coach Lloyd Longeway.
Then, with five seconds to go in the second quarter, Rico Sanchez entered the game.
A quick pass and a sprint down the court and Sanchez hit a three-pointer. Nothing but net.
“It got everybody energized. It added more positivity,” said Longeway.
The Wildcats would record four three-pointers in the first half on their way to a season high 12 for the game.
“We really came out ready to play,” said Longeway. “We have a lot of respect for Calaveras and their program.”
Calaveras has a good strong team, said Longeway, including a six-foot, seven-inch power forward.
But Sonora adjusted and used their speed to force an uptempo style. That turned into mistakes from the Calaveras team, said Longeway.
“We’re not quite as big, but we have fast tenacious defenders,” he said.
Sophomore Austin Patterson led the Wildcats on scoring with 23 points.
“He was consistent all night,” said Longeway.
Damien Kress had 16 points. Jacob Storm, Rico Sanchez and Jace Decker each had nine points.
Storm was the leading rebounder with nine, coming up just shy of a double double.
“He had a good game going against one of the best big guys in the league,” said Longeway.
While the score was surprising, the win wasn’t.
“We’ve been playing really confidently,” said Longeway. “I knew we were going to give them a good game.”
The team will have the chance to protect their undefeated league season at home Tuesday when Argonaut is in town.
The Mustangs are 7-1 and sit in the No. 2 spot behind Sonora in the MLL. Their next test comes against Calaveras Friday.
As playoffs come into view, Longeway said his team is hitting their stride at the right time.
“This team, we’re growing together,” said Longeway. “They’re all about playing for each other right now.”