PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Reedley girls lose to Kerman in Classic finals

Pirates win two of three games to capture second place, Cortez and Pallesi earn all-tournament honors

Reedley High’s Raquel Cortez grimaces as she splits two Fresno High defenders during the second half of the Pirates’ 43-37 victory over the Warriors in the semifinals of the Reedley Holiday Classic tournament on Dec. 29. Cortez went on to be named to the all-tournament team, after scoring a career-high 31 points in a first round win over Yosemite High. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published January 2, 2024  • 
11:00 am

REEDLEY – The Reedley High Pirates prevailed in a physical, hard-fought semifinal scrap against the Fresno High Warriors, but didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome the Kerman High Lions in the championship game of the Reedley Holiday Classic girls tournament.

The Pirates (10-8) were outscored 15-8 in the third quarter and never threatened down the stretch in a 53-43 loss in the finals the afternoon of  Dec. 30 at Reedley High. All-tournament selection Raquel Cortez scored 13 points, Niana Holman added 13 points while alo-tourney pick Emily Pallesi added seven points. But the trio were able to outscore the Lions’ Natalie Limon by just four points, as the senior guard poured in 29 points to earn tournament Most Valuable Player recognition.

Katy Shuban scored all 11 of her points in the second half, and Limon lit the nets for 14 points. Cortez scored 11 points in the semifinal win over Merced, and established a career single-game high with 31 points in an opening win over Yosemite on Dec. 28.

Dinuba High’s girls (8-7) bounced back from an opening loss to Madera to defeat Sanger West (60-19 on Dec. 29) and Kingsburg (55-25 on Dec. 30). Guard Jalissa Espirito scored 19 points against the Hornets.

Reedley will be off from game action for 10 days, returning to the court to play Washington Union in Easton on Tuesday, Jan. 9 in the Tri-County Conference opener for both teams. Dinuba has its second consecutive game with Kingsburg, hosting the Vikings in a 5 p.m. tipoff on Thursday, Jan. 4.

Jon Earnest