One-by-one, as the wins began to pile up this season, an outright PAC 7 championship looked more and more likely for the Atascadero High boys basketball team.
The Greyhounds sealed the deal Monday night, defeating Righetti 59-50 to clinch the program’s first sole league title since the 2003-04 season.
Atascadero (21-3, 11-0) will wrap up its regular season at 7 p.m. Wednesday at last-place Pioneer Valley (4-19, 0-10). The Greyhounds have already defeated the Panthers twice this year: 72-50 in a tournament game Dec. 28 and 79-47 in the first round of league play Jan. 19. If they go 3-for-3 in the season series, it would mean the first undefeated run through the PAC 7 since the 2005-06 Paso Robles squad led by current UNLV senior Derrick Jasper went 12-0.
“I’m just hoping we can continue to be strong and continue to grow in a couple of areas,” Atascadero coach Jerry Tamelier said.
On Monday, Tamelier, in his 28th year coaching the Greyhounds, couldn’t recall an instance of a previous Atascadero team going undefeated in league play. The 2008-09 team finished 10-2 in league to share the crown with San Luis Obispo.
In Monday’s win, point guard Troy Norris led Atascadero with 17 points, and power forward Weston Walker and wing Robert Berwick each had 13 points.
The Greyhounds withstood a team-best 16-point performance by Warriors post player Ryan McGready. Van Holloway chipped in 12 points from his backcourt spot for Righetti (15-8, 7-3), which is ranked 10th in Division 2A.
Atascadero trailed 44-42 entering the fourth quarter, but put the game away thanks to a series of defensive stands and key buckets inside from 6-foot-7 center Sean Slavin, who finished with six points.
“We had better spacing and created a little bit better opportunities,” Tamelier said of the finish. “And we defended really well and kept them from getting to the rim, and did a good job on the boards.”
As for the mood of his team after clinching, Tamelier said it was pleased, to be sure, but remained businesslike.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” he said. “Now it’s all ours, and we just want to keep growing.”
Arroyo Grande 51, Paso Robles 44
The Eagles (18-8, 8-3) moved into a tie with Righetti for second place in the PAC 7 standings.
Brent Vanderveen had 19 points for Arroyo Grande. The 6-foot-5 post player put his shooting range on display by knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Andrew Hogue added 11 points for the Eagles, who led 33-13 at halftime and hung on late.
Richard Curl led the Bearcats with 13 points and six rebounds, and Isaiah Jackson had 10 points.
Jake Murray had six assists and four steals for Paso Robles (8-15, 2-8).
St. Joseph 57, San Luis Obispo 48
After jumping out to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter, San Luis Obispo went cold offensively, getting outscored 47-34 the rest of the way in a battle for playoff positioning.
The Tigers (11-13, 4-6) are now tied with the Knights (14-11, 4-6) for the league’s fourth and final playoff berth.
Mike Hansen led the Tigers with 16 points, and Matt Moore added nine for San Luis Obispo.