Accomplishments: Jalen Patterson and the Liberty Ranch High boys basketball team didn’t practice on Wednesday.
But that’s not going to stop the junior guard from working on his game. Patterson had the ball in his hand quite often in a Sierra Valley Conference home game against Union Mine on Feb. 1, where he scored 28 points for the Hawks. That led to an 81-75 win over the Diamondbacks that gave Liberty Ranch (9-1 in the SVC, 26-2) its fourth consecutive title.
On top of that, Patterson became the school’s all-time leader in scoring with 1,885 points. DeAndre Stallings had the previous record at 1,882 that was set earlier this decade. Current Hawk in guard Jaime Gonzalez, a senior, has 1,100 points.
“I feel honored, accomplished and blessed,” said Patterson of the Hawks’ win and his own accomplishment. “That is one of our goals.”
Patterson is capable of scoring from almost anywhere on the floor; from forcing an opponent’s turnover that is converted into a coast-to-coast basket to taking a pass from a Hawk teammate and going inside or from the 3-point line to making free throws. That has led to him averaging 23.8 points per game. The 6-foot-1, 155-pound Patterson is one of four Hawks who are averaging double-digits this season; Gonzalez, along with forward Jayden Baroni and Isaac Padilla, are the others.
Although Liberty Ranch coach Josh Williams didn’t hold practice Wednesday, Patterson said that he would still be spending time in working on his craft after the phone interview.
“I play basketball every day,” Patterson said. “It’s like second nature to me. I will be shooting tonight for sure.”
Living part of his life in the gym seems to be working for Patterson, who has said some four-year colleges have contacted him recently. He hopes that by this time next year, he’ll have a scholarship offer from one of the more than a half-dozen colleges Patterson said have contacted him.
“I feel very blessed because not everybody has college coaches talk to them,” Patterson said.
As of today, Patterson has 1,895 points. That is because he scored only 10 points in the Hawks’ conference finale at Bradshaw Christian on Tuesday, as the Pride posted a 72-66 win.
“We had an off-game,” Patterson said. “They took advantage of our off-night.”
Patterson, who has been playing basketball since he was 3 years-old, feels that this year’s Hawks are “loaded” with talent that clearly shows in their overall record. Next for the Hawks is Saturday afternoon, when the Sac-Joaquin Section will release its playoff brackets for the boys and girls.
“We are very focused this year,” Patterson said. “We want to do something special, like winning section and state championships.”
Liberty Ranch, Galt’s second high school that opened its doors in 2009, is looking to have another deep run in the playoffs again this year. Last year in the section’s Division IV playoffs, Liberty Ranch beat Livingston in the first round, but Calaveras won the quarterfinal game. The Hawks, however, earned a CIF NorCal berth and reached the D-IV semifinals.
“(Tuesday’s loss) was fuel to our fire for the playoffs,” Patterson said.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.