SELMA — The 2017-18 season came to an end for the Lemoore boys basketball team with a 75-58 quarterfinal road loss to Selma High School on Feb. 22.
Lemoore’s defeat came two days after upsetting sixth-seeded Tulare Union (62-52 win) on the road in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Div. II playoffs.
Mike Pallesi - the head coach for Selma - who attended the Tigers’ game against The Tribe said Lemoore was a tough matchup for Tulare Union and knew they weren’t a team to overlook.
“They’re good,” Pallesi said. “They’re athletic, they do what they do well, they’re a very good team.”
The Tigers entered the postseason as a No. 11 seed and head coach Joel Sligh said he was proud of his team’s performance in the playoffs and in the quarterfinal game.
“They played well,” Sligh said. “They played hard, they never gave up and that’s the stuff that I asked out of them.”
Lemoore had a fast start to the game by leading 11-9 midway in the first quarter. That fast start didn’t last long as Selma went on a 12-2 run to end the quarter for a 21-13 lead.
In the beginning of the second quarter, the Tigers had a similar start by cutting its deficit to three with the score at 22-19 with 6:12 left to play in the first half. After Lemoore took a lead over the Bears later in the quarter, Selma regained the upper hand by being ahead 40-33 at halftime.
The third quarter is when the game got away from the Tigers, the Bears pulled away with a 59-46 lead at the end of the period.
Lemoore’s double-digit deficit late in the game would be too much to overcome against the three-seeded Selma squad.
The Tigers’ season ends with a 16-12 overall record and 6-6 in West Yosemite League play. This season was an improved one for Lemoore who went 7-21 overall and 2-10 in the WYL in the 2016-17 season.
For Sligh, he considered this season a success since the team qualified for the playoffs, but also said consistency plagued the squad throughout the year.
“Yes, in the fact that we did better than we did last year,” Sligh said, “no, in the fact that it was a turbulent season for us. We didn’t always play the best basketball when we were supposed to and it put us in a position where we had to come here [to Selma].
“If we would have done the things we were supposed to do, maybe we land somewhere differently, but all in all it was a pretty good season.”
The majority of the team will return next season, the coach said.
Sligh said he’s “absolutely” looking forward to coaching next year’s varsity returners along with guys that were a part of a this season’s junior varsity squad. That team that went 20-4 overall and 11-1 in league play this year.
“We’re definitely looking forward to bring back some returning players, who got to experience a lot with the expectation of what a season takes and getting into playoffs,” he said. “Having that experience of coming here and what it feels like to play a team that’s been there, and hopefully they can use that for next year as an advantage to take them further.”
One of those returning players is Sean Patrick, who tied for a game-high 22 points with Selma’s William Pallesi.
“We’ll back next year,” Patrick said. “We’ll get it next year I believe.”
The junior guard is looking forward to play with next year’s squad and wants to compete further in the playoffs during the 2018-19 season.
“Winning a Valley [championship] next year,” he said, “that’s what I want to get and compete in the state [playoffs].”