By Andrea Camarena

In the final seconds of a rivalry game against Strathmore last Friday a chant rippled through the crowd at the Lindsay High School gym.

"400, 400." At the buzzer, Lindsay's varsity basketball team ran to the east wall of the gym and tore down a sign that read "399" to reveal the number "400." In a 63-27 win, the Cardinals head coach Don Perales coached his 400th win at Lindsay High School.

In his 33rd season, Perales has made history.

The win marks the third of this season starting the Cardinals off on an undefeated season.

A 33 season career (and going) plus 400 wins is more than Perales anticipated when he arrived in Lindsay in 1968.

Perales originally came to Lindsay for a junior high teaching job.

"I thought I was only going to be at Lindsay for a couple of years." But after two years, he moved up to teach at the high school level. A varsity basketball coaching position was dangled in front of the Wasco native after two years as the Freshman coach. And he bit. 33 years later, he hasn't let go.

The Cardinals have kept it in the family during Perales' tenure. "The parents and the kids here are great. It's been that family atmosphere that's kept me here."

For Perales history is repeating itself and for the Cardinal basketball program, that's a good thing. Perales coached his first victory in 1972. The win took place at rival Strathmore High School. On the court, Dan Ross led the team. 33 years later, Ross' son David was the starting Center in Perales' latest win over the Spartans.

Currently, Perales has both the Gonzalez brothers and Blue brothers on his roster and leading his team. They are the second generation of Gonzalez' and Blue's to play under Perales.

"I'm very excited, very elated, very relieved. All my teams are my favorite team. What's great about this team is that they are playing the best defense I've seen in three years," said Perales after the victory.

In three decades, Perales has seen his share of success. He coached his first championship team in 1978 and saw the same winning ways again in 1984 with "one of the best groups of guys" Perales has encountered.

Basketball must be in the Perales genes. In 1991, Perales put his own flesh and blood on the court when he coached his son Carly Perales in another championship season. The '91 Cardinals took Lindsay to state for their first appearance in the Division Four state finals. With seasoned coaching comes successful performances and in 1991, Carly Perales set several school records which remain unbeaten today.

When Carly returned to his alma mateur in the late 90's, he coached beside his father prepping the team for their next Championship seasons running from 2000-2002. The 2001 team made the Cardinals' latest appearence at the State Finals.

In his latest home victory, Perales was presented with two plaques. Former player Rebun Gonzalez handed over a plaque commemorating the 400th win as current and fomer players gathered around Perales to give congratulations and say "thanks."

ASB president and varsity girls basketball player Nicole Schiro also presented a plaque to Perales as a thank you from the student body for his 33 years of dedication to the students and the basketball program.

Perales not only coaches the Cardinal basketball team, he is the Athletic Directory for the high school as well as a teacher and golf coach.

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