KINGSBURG — It’s been a different season for the Selma and Kingsburg boys basketball teams and both squads went head-to-head on Jan. 26.
In the first meeting of the season between the teams, Selma defeated Kingsburg on the road 71-56. The Bears are 5-0 in Central Sequoia League and the Vikings drop to 0-5 in the CSL.
Selma head coach Mike Pallesi called the next game against Immanuel the “biggest game of the year,” since both teams will be playing for first place in the CSL.
“We've got to win it,” Pallesi said. “We don’t want to share [first place], so we've got to win it.”
In the first meeting this season, the Bears defeated Immanuel 73-67 on the road Jan. 12. The Eagles are in second place in the CSL with a 4-1 record, so a win for Selma would further push its chances of a league title.
William Pallesi, Tiveon Stroud and Junior Ramirez have been vital for Selma’s 5-0 start. Pallesi is averaging 21.4 points per game. Stroud has scored 18.6 and Ramirez has accumulated 15.8 in league play.
Pallesi and Stroud led the way against the Vikings by scoring 17 and 15 points each. Ramirez scored seven points in the game.
The Bears also got solid production from Ashman Dosanjh, who scored eight points, and Aaron Blancas had seven from the bench.
Another player who could make an impact for the Bears down the stretch is Manny Singh. The senior guard was out for the first three league games before scoring 16 points in an 86-45 win against Dinuba on Jan. 23. He missed five games due to an injury.
Singh also scored 11 points against Kingsburg.
Mike Pallesi said “it’s good” to have Singh back in the lineup.
“It gives us an extra guard who’ll defend and make shots and give us energy,” Pallesi said.
As for Kingsburg, the Vikings are on an eight-game losing streak and are winless in league since last February. The team has lost its last nine games in CSL play.
“I’m so proud of these guys on how we had a tough stretch,” Kingsburg head coach Todd Brown said. “They come to practice ready to work. They've got good attitudes so I expect nothing less the rest of the way.”
The last time the Vikings defeated a league opponent was on Feb. 1, 2017, in a 68-47 win over Exeter. The next game for Kingsburg is against Exeter on the road on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The Monarchs will go into the game at 6-13 overall and 1-4 in CSL play.
“I think our guys will go in expecting to win,” Brown said. “We’re just going to keep getting better.”
In the Selma game, Kingsburg only scored 23 points in the first half. At the end of the third quarter, the Bears pulled away with a 53-36 lead.
Brown thought his team executed on both ends of the floor despite the loss.
“Even though we gave up 40 points in the first half… I thought we did a decent job [defensively],” Brown said. “If we would have got a couple of more shots fall in the first half, I think it would’ve been a single-digit game. It’s a little bit different going into the second half [down by] single-digits instead of 17.”
Leading scorers for Kingsburg were seniors Ryan Flippo (10 points), Kaleb Hernandez (9) and Jeremy Ray (7).
The two squads are scheduled to play each other again on Feb. 13. It will be the final regular season game for both teams and Selma will be the host.
“They’re an excellent team,” Brown said about the Selma squad. “They’re well coached and they have great athletes that put a lot of time in. That’s a good combo. I wish them luck, but we've got to play them one more time.”