Tyler Pacheco knew the best way to get his mind off of a disappointing loss was to immediately transition into a new sports season. So that’s exactly what he and friend Jayden Freidt did after the San Benito High football team saw its season end on Nov. 19 in the Central Coast Section Division II playoff semifinals.
The very next morning, Pacheco was at basketball practice, ready to get going for a new season and sport.
“I love basketball and I would never miss a practice if I can be there,” said Pacheco, who was named the PCAL Gabilan Division Offensive MVP for his play at quarterback this past football season. “It’s a lot of fun just being able to go from one season to the next and just like that getting back into basketball season.”
Pacheco didn’t waste much time making his presence felt, pouring in a season-high 26 points in a 68-47 win over Carmel High on Dec. 7. The game was special because it was the team’s first home game in two years in which capacity didn’t have to be restricted due to Covid.
The senior 6-foot-2 wing player also had a thunderous dunk in the contest, igniting an electrifying roar from the fans in attendance. Pacheco has gone airborne for a couple of slam dunks this season, and he’s taken particular delight in doing it in front of the home crowd.
“It’s been especially fun at home because last season I would dunk and none of my friends were there,” he said. “It’s cool this year with fans in the gym to be able to play in front of everyone and see the energy in there. It’s crazy compared to last season. It’s a whole different ball game because there’s so much more energy that our student section brings and it makes the games that much more fun to play in for sure.”
Pacheco has been pretty consistent with his outside jump shot and driving to the basket off dribble penetration. Just as important, he makes practices fun and elevates the play of his teammates, just like he did on the gridiron at quarterback.
“Tyler not only has immense talent on the court, but he brings a balance of levity and competitiveness to practice,” Balers coach Bo Buller said. “His teammates feed off his energy. He makes plays on the court unlike any player I have coached. Where he is at his best is with his vision, finding open teammates and facilitating.
“It’s a skill that I think translates over from being a great quarterback. Our team is at its best when Tyler is putting pressure on the defense and the best shot for our team. He’s a confident kid, and with our schedule and the goals we have set as a program, you want guys that can go in thinking they can dominate every game you play.”
While Pacheco has been an example for others to follow, he said the play of freshman point guard Chandler Crutcher has given him an extra dose of enjoyment and inspiration on the hardwood this season.
“Chandler is really good and I can’t wait to watch him do big things in the next few years,” Pacheco said. “It’s cool to have a freshman do so well, but kind of weird because he seems older than he is with his basketball knowledge. He seems like he’s a senior with the way he plays.”
Pacheco is always seeking to improve his game, and in that regard he wants to set up his teammates for prime scoring opportunities, play lockdown defense and help the team jell. Even after a disappointing 57-47 loss to Palma on Dec. 21, Pacheco said he was confident the team will develop nicely as the season progresses.
“We’re only going to get better and we’re going to form that chemistry so by the end of the season we’ll be a tough team to beat for sure,” he said.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at email@example.com and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.