SELMA – No team in the Central Sequoia League won more games during the 2016-17 season than the Selma girls basketball team.
But unfortunately for the Bears, that regular season success didn't continue to the postseason.
This year, Selma is hoping to learn from those mistakes and make a deep run in the playoffs in aims of making it to the Section finals for the first time since going in back-to-back years in 2013-14.
Last year, Selma went 20-10 and 8-2 in the CSL before being bounced in the quarterfinals of the Central Section Division II playoffs.
The Bears return nearly that entire team and will compete this season in Div. III, the division it went to those Section finals before being elevated to Div. II.
“I think (we) took a lot away from the experience from last year,” said Selma head coach Paul Romig. “We just want to continue to improve.”
This year, the Bears will have a slew of players that were part of the team that was just shy of winning the CSL title after splitting with CSL champion Immanuel. The Eagles went on to win a Section crown and then win twice in the state playoffs before being eliminated. That's the potential the Bears could have this year.
Returning guard Lizette Moreno was a first-team All-CSL selection last season and will be a key contributor to the team.
In the team's season opener against Porterville, the senior scored a game-high 20 points, showing off her ability to get to the rim.
“We're very energetic,” Moreno said. “And we're going to play with that energy. We want to outwork other teams.”
Romig said one of the key factors to Selma's potential success could be its depth.
“We have a cast of characters that can contribute,” Romig said.
Also returning is junior center Taj Pannu, who was a second-team All-CSL pick.
Moreno said lessons were learned with Selma's early ouster in the playoffs last year.
After a first-round bye in the Div. II Section playoffs, the No. 5 Bears lost to No. 4 Redwood 80-37.
“That was one of our worst games,” Moreno said. “We realized that we have to be more consistent and that we have to pick it up on offense.”
But with Selma in Div. III this year an experience Selma team could go deeper.
“I think there's a path for us there,” Romig said.
Moreno said the team is setting the bar higher this, her final year. She has yet to play at Selland Arena in downtown Fresno, site of the Central Section championship games.
“We're setting goals this year,” she said. “We want to go to Selland.”