WATER POLO PLAYOFFS: Reedley girls edged by Garces in D-II semifinals

Pirates final period surge in water polo comes up a goal short in 10-9 loss at No. 2 Rams, Tri-County champions finish season with 26-5 record

Reedley High’s girls water polo team finished the season with a 26-5 record following a 10-9 loss at No. 2 seed Garces in the Central Section Division II semifinals on Nov. 8. The Pirates captured the Tri-County Conference championship and won a pair of playoff games this fall. (Jon Earnest)
Reedley High’s girls water polo team finished the season with a 26-5 record following a 10-9 loss at No. 2 seed Garces in the Central Section Division II semifinals on Nov. 8. The Pirates captured the Tri-County Conference championship and won a pair of playoff games this fall. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published November 9, 2023  • 
3:00 pm

BAKERSFIELD – A trip to the Fresno State Aquatics Center and a berth in the Central Section Division II championship game fell just shy of becoming a reality for the Reedley High girls water polo team on Nov. 8.

The third-seeded Pirates trailed 10-6 entering the final period against No. 2 Garces Memorial High before charging back with three goals during the final seven minutes. But the Rams (23-8) managed to hold on for a 10-9 triumph to earn a title game berth at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 against Tulare Western. The No. 4 Mustangs (27-7) knocked off top-seeded Morro Bay by a 10-8 score in the other semifinal.

The close loss ended a memorable 26-5 season that included a second undefeated Tri-County Conference record in as many seasons of the conference as well as a 25-game overall win streak. Individual scoring details for the Garces game were unavailable.

Reedley started the season a bit slow with four losses in early September at the rugged Central Valley Tournament in Clovis before bouncing back strong with undefeated records at the Woodcreek tournament in late September and Arroyo Grande Invitational on Oct 5-6. Coupled with a perfect 11-0 TCC record, the Pirates amassed 25 consecutive wins.

The Pirates were led this season by the scoring of senior Grace Tademy, Maggie Ellis and Hayley Lopez along with solid goaltending play by Kamarin Holm.

For the first time this season, Fresno State will be the site of all section championship games for the three boys and girls divisions. The Saturday, Nov. 11, schedule is: Clovis East-Garces (D-II boys), 11 a.m.; Tulare Western-Garces girls, 12:30 p.m.; Tulare Western-San Joaquin Memorial (D-III boys), 2 p.m.; Arroyo Grande-Clovis (D-I girls), 3:30 p.m.; Sierra-Liberty Bakersfield (D-III girls), 5 p.m.; Buchanan-San Luis Obispo (D-I boys), 6:30 p.m.

Jon Earnest
Reporter