KINGSBURG - In the first meeting between Selma and Kingsburg, the Bears allowed a Vikings rally in the fourth quarter on its home floor, which ended in a 67-60 loss on Jan. 16.
The results were better for Selma in the regular-season finale at Kingsburg, which ended in a 60-40 win for the Bears. After the victory, Selma claimed a Central Sequoia League co-championship, which will be shared with the Vikings.
“It was kind of a set back, we kind of needed it,” Bears’ guard Rachel Vieira said about the first meeting against Kingsburg. “At practice, it was focusing on the little things and getting our momentum back. We just listened to the things coach said.”
Bears head coach Paul Romig said that loss to Kingsburg earlier this season motivated the girls at practice throughout the rest of the season.
“It forced us to play with poise,” Romig said. “It forced us to pay attention to detail, it forced us to be more processed orientated, and I think that benefited us tonight.”
In the finale, the Bears led throughout the entire game, which started with a 18-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Vikings slowly started to climb back, cutting Selma’s lead to 21-13 in the second quarter.
The eight point lead for the Bears would increased after Selma went on 10-3 run in the final minute of the second quarter to go into halftime ahead 31-16. The Bears wouldn’t allow Kingsburg to climb back this time around, extending its lead over the Vikings to 24 points at 48-24 in the fourth quarter
In the first meeting, Kingsburg outscored Selma 25-9 in the fourth quarter after trailing by nine points in the third quarter.
The season series between the rival schools ends in a split and both programs gave each other its only league loss of the season.
Both Selma and Kingsburg ended the 2018-19 regular season as co-champions by tying for the top CSL record at 11-1. Along with sharing a league championship, both teams also improved from their win totals last year.
The Bears improved its win total by three games and the Vikings made a dramatic 12-win improvement. Selma ended the regular season at 25-3 overall and Kingsburg went 21-6 overall. Boths teams were the only squads in the CSL to win 20 or more games in the regular season.
Selma’s co-championship is the program’s second-straight league title.
“[Coach Romig] said ‘We didn’t make it happen tonight, we made it happen 11 months ago,” Vieira said about the team’s co-CSL title. “We made it happen through all the practices that worked up to this point.”
As for Kingsburg, it’s the program’s first CSL championship since the 2009-10 season. Prior to the game, the Vikings already clinched a share of a league title.
For Kingsburg first-year head coach Kristi Bravo, it’s her third overall CSL title with the program, but her first as head coach. The other two league championships came as a player during the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons, which were the team’s first CSL titles in program history.
“It’s their hard work that is paying off,” Bravo said. “When we were out on the track in the preseason I tell the girls ‘This is why we do that, all your hard work is paying off.’”
Four-year varsity player Maddy Reed said she’s proud to be part of the program’s first league championship winning team in nine years.
“It feels great,” Reed said. “A lot of hard work pays off and it was a great season. We can’t for the playoffs.”
Since the last rivalry meeting on Jan. 16, both teams went on winnings streaks enroute to the regular-season finale. Selma won six-straight games while Kingsburg won nine in a row. The Vikings nine-game winning streak was a season high. The Bears highest winning streak this year was at 13 games, which was ended by Kingsburg on Jan. 16. Currently, Selma is on a seven-game winning streak.
In the CSL finale, Vieira was effective on both ends of the floor, scoring 18 points with eight steals. Her teammate Audrey Gonzalez scored a game-high 19 points along with seven rebounds.
Vieira fell eight points short of becoming the Selma’s girls basketball program all-time scoring leader at 1,353. The senior needed 26 points to eclipse the milestone.
Reed was the only double-digit scorer for Kingsburg, scoring a team-high 16 points. Emily Fuentes and Maddie Alves tied for second on the team with eight points.
Both teams are expected to host multiple playoff games in their respective divisions. Selma will enter the Division III playoffs as the top seed and will have a bye in the first round. The Bears host the winner of No. 8 Frontier and No. 9 Golden Valley on Thursday.
Kingsburg will begin its Division IV postseason run as the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 Madera South in the opening round. The Vikings tip-off against the Stallions tomorrow on 7 p.m.