HANFORD – Things went, well, swimmingly for the Sierra Pacific High boys water polo team in the first half of an eventual 16-12 loss to Kingsburg at Hanford West on Wednesday. But then Bear hopes disintegrated in the fourth quarter of the non-league match as the Vikings out-scored the hosts 5-1 to win going away.
Kingsburg star senior Satoshi Shinkawa, the victim of two kick-outs in the first half, came alive in the second half and scored two of the Vikings’ fourth-quarter goals to help provide the margin of victory.
“It was a tough game,” Sierra Pacific standout Ryan Simmons said. “They’re a good team. It was a close game and they’re a DII team and we’re D-III, so we didn’t do too badly.”
Simmons’ teammate, Michael Mason, thought Shinkawa’s second-half play was the difference.
“Satoshi had those two kick-outs in the first half, but then he came back and we weren’t ready for it.”
Tied 11-11 entering the fourth quarter, Shinkawa scored the first goal of Kingsburg’s five-goal blitz and the last goal. In between, Jake Goodbar, Connor Righetti and Quinton Davis tallied for Kingsburg – Davis with a nifty, back-handed flip from the right side.
Sierra Pacific could not keep pace, though it battled gamely throughout.
“We held (Shinkawa) down pretty well in the first half, but he got the best of us in the second half,” Sierra Pacific coach Scott Jordan said. “But overall we held our own. I’m confident in our boys – this is one of the best teams I’ve had here.”
Sierra Pacific (4-3) led 7-6 at halftime, but was out-scored 5-4 in the third quarter.
“It took me a little while to adjust to the calls (the officials) were presenting,” Shinkawa said. “As a team, we were more coordinated in the second half and had better teamwork.”
Shinkawa led Kingsburg with four goals, Righetti and Christian Valenzuela had three each, Davis two and Colby Simmons, Joey LeForge, Alex Meyer and Goodbar one each for the Vikings.
Simmons paced Sierra Pacific with four goals, Lucas Cameron had three, Ryan Holland and Jonathan Mello two each and Ethan Enquist one.