SELMA - The Selma girls basketball team had a chance to win this season’s Central Sequoia League title, but the Bears fell short to Dinuba 42-40 at home on Feb. 8.
Currently, Selma is 19-9 overall and 7-2 in league play. The Bears are in first place and are one game ahead of Immanuel and Exeter - both 6-3 - in the CSL standings with one game remaining in the regular season.
Selma still controls its own destiny for a league title and will need a road win over rival Kingsburg in its next game to be crowned CSL champions. If the Bears were to lose, they would at least be co-champions if both Immanuel and Exeter win or if at least one of the teams is victorious in its season finale. Another possibility for Selma to claim sole ownership of the championship is for all three teams lose in their season-finale.
“We’re still guaranteed at least a share of a [league] championship,” Selma head coach Paul Romig said. “[If] we take care of business on Wednesday, we don’t have to share that.”
Romig said he’s looking forward to the game against the Vikings.
“It’ll be a great game,” he said.
As for the game against Dinuba, Selma started slow especially in the second quarter when the Bears were outscored 11-2. At halftime the Emperors had a 21-10 lead.
After being down 33-26 at the end of the third quarter, Selma cut its deficit 37-33 with 3:40 left to play. With under two minutes to go, Bears’ power forward Clarissa Moreno tied the score up at 37, but Emperors’ guard Mireya Hernandez put Dinuba up 39-37 in the ensuing drive.
Moments later, Emperors’ center Yasmine Villarreal-Harris made a two-pointer after Selma senior Lizette Moreno made one of her two free throws. Selma forward/center Yesenia Sanchez then put the Bears within one point shortly after. In the final closing seconds of the game, Dinuba wing Ashley Flores made a free-throw and the Bears failed to score in the final drive of the game.
“They competed and they played hard,” Romig said about Dinuba. “They made it difficult on us when we weren’t making it difficult on ourselves, which happened time to time.”
Selma outscored Dinuba 14-9 in the fourth quarter.
“I’m very proud of the fourth quarter,” Romig said. “I’m very proud of how we responded to the situation.”
The Bears were without two of its players in the starting lineup – Rachel Vieira and Taj Pannu. Vieira broke her arm at practice a few days before the game and will miss the rest of the season.
“It’s just crushing for her because she works so hard,” Romig said about Vieira. “She’s dedicated herself and you hate to see some of that opportunity get taken away.”
Romig said Pannu was held out due to a head injury in the team’s previous game against Exeter. Even though the Bears played without two starters, Romig said it gave an opportunity for several players to get on the court.
Romig said Pannu should make a difference against Kingsburg.
“The more weapons we have, the more difficult it is for our opponent,” he said. “We look forward to getting her back.”
Also, it was senior night for Selma and Lizette Moreno is the only senior on the team.
Moreno had eight points and five assists in her final regular-season home game. The senior was second on the team in scoring behind Sanchez, who had 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sanchez was also a factor on defense with six blocked shots.
Selma and Kingsburg will tip off on Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. It will be the season finale for both squads.