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Huskies make playoff push with victory over Vikings

Huskies make playoff push with victory over Vikings

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HANFORD — Behind Jaslin LeGarreta’s game-high 25 points, Hanford West defeated Kingsburg 41-31 at home on Thursday, and won back-to-back games for only the second time this season.

“It means a lot,” LeGarreta said about the win. “We worked hard and just coming from last year it’s a big improvement, so seeing that it pushes us more.”

The Huskies won six games all of last season, but are now 9-12 overall and, more importantly, 4-4 in the Central Sequoia League. They have to go 2-2 over their final four games to qualify for the playoffs.

Hanford West has not qualified for the playoffs since the 2012-13 season — a span of seven seasons — when they won the Division III championship.

“This is a huge win,” Hanford West coach Raffinee Edwards said. “We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of Tuesday. Second round of league, we should be able to take everything and that’s our goal is to win the rest of this league out.”

Powered by LeGarreta’s 15 first-half points, the Huskies led 11-3 after the first quarter and built a 16-point halftime lead. The junior guard hit five 3-pointers on the night and was responsible for 61% of the offense.

“I was just trying to move the ball around and see what’s open and just pull whatever I have,” LeGarreta said. “

Early contributions by Teresa Sandoval, Madisen Shimmon and Xahira Juarez helped the Huskies take a quick lead.

Kingsburg’s Nicole Merlo’s layup brought the score to within three in the second quarter, but Hanford West went on a 15-2 run to close the half. LeGarreta scored 11 of the 15 points and after making her third 3-pointer, she stole the ball in the corner and finished a layup at the buzzer.

“[Jaslin’s] 3s were on tonight and everybody did their job,” Edwards said. “When somebody’s hot we keep going to them and that’s just how it was tonight.”

The Huskies’ defense limited the Vikings to single digits in the first, second and fourth quarter. Kingsburg scored 14 points in the third and cut the lead to five on Maci Chavez’s 3-pointer, but Hanford West limited them to five points in the fourth.

“We just told ourselves to push through and not let ourselves down,” LeGarreta said.

Shimmon and Janiah Sanders each finished with four points, while Sandoval scored three. For the Vikings, Ally Cotton led the team with 11 points and Merlo added 10.

The two teams split the season series after Kingsburg won the first game 50-48 on Dec. 17.

Up next:

Hanford West will host Selma (19-4, 8-0 CSL) next Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Huskies narrowly lost to the Bears, 57-53, in their first matchup on Jan. 3.

 Hanford West 41, Kingsburg 31
 Hanford West 11 17 7 6 41
 Kingsburg 3 9 14 5 31

Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or ngarcia@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

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