The Tracy High girls basketball team held the lead through the first half over visiting Chavez in Tracy’s last home game of the season, but by the second half the Titans forced more turnovers and made their shots count as they quickly erased Tracy’s 23-20 halftime lead and charged ahead for the win.
It’s likely to end Tracy’s season, as Lady Bulldogs needed to move up from the No. 17 spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II power ratings if they were to make the Division II playoff bracket. It also gives Chavez a chance to move up from its No. 15 spot in the Division I power ratings. The section will release the playoff brackets on Sunday, and the girls playoffs will begin on Tuesday.
Thursday’s game was also a chance for Tracy to tie for second place in the San Joaquin Athletic Association. The league season ends with Lincoln, which was undefeated in league play going into Thursday’s game against Bear Creek, in first place, Chavez (14-11, 8-2 SJAA) in second and Tracy (12-14, 6-4 SJAA) in third.
“We knew we had to win to go on,” Tracy coach Derek Solano said. “Today was our first playoff game and we didn’t come prepared.”
Tracy started with the lead and was ahead by a much as nine points in the second quarter. Both teams fought hard for control of the ball, but Tracy made its shots and outrebounded the Titans, with senior Ari Grimes collecting 14 rebounds for the night.
“Every game we play we go all out with as much effort as we can,” Grimes said. “The free throws are what killed us. We couldn’t finish from the line.”
Tracy was 14 of 31 from the line while Chavez made nine of 17 free throws, including seven in a row for the Titans’ Renee Gentry in the second quarter when the direction of the game shifted in Chavez’ favor. The Titans’ Kelsey Bumanglag also hit two of her four 3-point shots for the night in the second quarter.
The Titans came out scoring in the third quarter, and while Tracy played aggressive through the fourth the Titans put up a stronger defense and forced Tracy to turn over the ball repeatedly.
Leading scorers for Tracy were Mariah Serrato, Ari Grimes and Shelby Perry, who scored eight each. Karsi Fyfe scored six and Angela Mariani scored five. It was also the last home game for seniors Mariah Serrato, Grimes, Christina Martinez, Monique Stevenson and Sakeyla Spencer.
Varsity girls: McNair 86, West 19
The West High varsity girls basketball team was shut down in the first half of their final game of the season on Thursday, Feb. 16 at McNair High. The Eagles (24-3, 8-2 TCAL) limited West to just a few shots in the first half to take the 49-6 halftime lead. West picked up the pace in the third quarter, but even after McNair backed off its offense the Eagles still outscored the Wolf Pack. It finishes West’s season at 7-19, 2-8 in the Tri-City Athletic League.
Varsity girls: Stone Ridge Christian 46, Millennium 44
Millennium High’s girls (6-15, 0-8 CCAA) got off to a good start in their last game of the season Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Stone Ridge Christian in Merced as the Falcons took an 18-10 lead in the first quarter. The Knights (6-8, 2-6 CCAA) turned the tables in the second quarter and cut the Falcons lead to 22-21 at the half, and then took a 36-30 lead in the third quarter. The Falcons’ fourth quarter comeback fell two points short to make it a 46-44 win for the Knights.
Leading scorer for Millennium was Ebonie Barney with 20 points, and she also had five rebounds. Essence White scored 16 for the Falcons.
Sophomore girls: Chavez 22, Tracy 20
The Bulldogs (12-13, 5-5 SJAA) and Titans stayed close all the way through Thursday’s game, including a third quarter where only Chavez was able to score a field goal. It came down to a close fourth quarter where Tracy got within one point in the last 30 seconds on a shot from Camille McDaniel. Chavez pulled ahead on a couple free throws and while McDaniel hit one more from the line, Tracy was unable to make it’s shots on its last couple of scoring opportunities. McDaniel was Tracy’s leading scorer with seven points.
Freshman girls: Tracy 33, Chavez 28
Tracy’s freshmen (10-10, 5-5 SJAA) won their last game of the season 33-28 over the Titans. Tracy started with a 12-10 lead in the first quarter and Chavez caught up and took a 25-24 lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Bulldogs pulled ahead in the fourth for the win. Paige Johnson and Payton Davis scored six each for Tracy and Daniele McNely scored five.