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MAKING HISTORY

Selma guard Rachel Vieira dribbles the ball while being defended by Fresno's Erin Williams during first quarter of the CIF Central Section Division III Championship on Feb. 23.  

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA - Three days after winning a Central Section championship, the Selma girls basketball team were eliminated from the CIF State playoffs after a 65-53 loss to Woodside Priory in the first round on Feb. 26.

The Bears (28-4, 11-1 in Central Sequoia League) entered the state playoffs as the No. 11 seed in the Northern Regional Division III playoffs. The Woodside Priory Panthers (17-12, 5-7 in West Bay Foothill League) were the No. 6 seed.

Both teams came into the playoff game with a Section championship. The Panthers won the Central Coast Section Division V championship on the same day the Bears earned the Central Section Division III title.

Woodside Priory, a school in San Mateo County in the Bay Area, was also CIF State Division IV runner-up a year ago.

“We were playing against a high-level team,” Romig said. “At this high level, when someone gets an extra opportunity or a mistake is made they execute on it... There was a situation where they had a bunch of seniors and older and experienced players and when they were given an opportunity, they took advantage of it.”

It was a close game in the first half, which included the score having eight different lead changes.

Selma had four of those leads in the second quarter before going into halftime down 25-22. The Bears’ final lead of the game would be 22-21 before the end of the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Woodside Priory began to take control of the game after putting together a 17-point 43-26 lead. The Panthers’ 17-point lead was the largest lead of the game. It was also the game’s first double-digit lead for either team.

Woodside Priory outscored Selma 20-11 in the third quarter. The Panthers would lead 45-33 at the end of the third quarter.

Romig said Ila Lane and Dominique Robson were two Woodside Priory starters that were tough to defend throughout the third quarter.

“They hit a streak where [Lane] was able to score inside and they had a string of three-pointers [from Robson] that just created a little bit of a distance,” Romig said.

The closest margin that Selma had in the fourth quarter was nine points.

Lane, who stands at 6 foot 4 inches tall, scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to record a double-double.

Robson ended the game with 15 points after shooting 5-of-10 (50 percent) from beyond the arc.

For Selma, the Bears had three double-digit scorers in sopohmores Audrey Gonzalez, Elena Loutherback, and Yesenia Sanchez.

Gonzalez and Loutherback both scored 13 points followed by 12 from Sanchez. Gonzalez also grabbed seven rebounds while Sanchez had six. Loutherback had four steals to go along with her 13 points.

In her final high school game, senior Rachel Vieira scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds. Junior Clarissa Moreno scored eight points with six rebounds.

The loss ends a historic season for the Selma girls basketball team that included the program winning it’s first Central Section championship. The Bears defeated Fresno High 71-39 at the Selland Arena to earn a Valley title on Feb. 23.

The Fresno High Warriors were awarded the No. 8 seed in the Northern Regional bracket of the CIF State Division IV playoffs.

When the CIF State playoff seedings were posted, Romig said it was “head scratching” that they didn’t earn a home game.

“It was a little mystifying,” Romig said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

Despite the state playoff loss, Romig said it was a season that was “magical in a lot of ways.”

“We came out early in the season and we clicked on all cylinders early,” Romig said. “I think we rode that through.”

“Their accomplishments are not only theirs, but it's on the shoulders of the girls that came before them that established our motto ‘Nobody plays harder’ and it also provides a dream and an example for the younger players coming up. I’m just so happy for this group of girls to be able to experience that.”

Moreno, Gonzalez, Loutherback, and Sanchez are expected to return to the starting lineup next season while Vieira will be the only starter that will be graduating.

When asked about his expectations for next season, Romig said “It’s the annual question of how hard are people willing to work?”

“To what extent are they going to realize their areas of their game that need to improve and are they going to make the investments to do that. I’m always optimistic that our girls do that.”

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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