GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS: Reedley girls wear down Madera in Division III opener

Immanuel and Dinuba advance in D-IV with home victories, Sanger school record-holder Sheaffer’s prep career ends in D-II loss at Mission Prep

Parlier High’s Miah Solorio prepares to go up for a shot during the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ 47-28 victory over Desert High in a Division V first round basketball game at Parlier High gym on Feb. 14. Solorio scored six points. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published February 15, 2024  • 
11:00 am

REEDLEY – Reedley High earned a trip to the coast with a methodical opening round victory Wednesday night in the Central Section Division III girls basketball playoffs.

Senior Raquel Cortez and junior Niana Holman scored 15 points, and the Pirates (19-10) outscored visiting Madera High 14-7 in the third quarter to advance with a 59-45 victory at RHS gym. Counting last year’s Division V title run, seventh seed Reedley takes a five-game section playoff win streak into a Friday, Feb. 16, 6 p.m. quarterfinal matchup at No. 2 seed Morro Bay (21-6).

Tenth-seeded Madera (14-15) battled the Pirates though most of the first half, taking a one-point lead early in the quarter before a 9-2 run, featuring a pair of 3-pointers by Jamilah Taylor put Reedley ahead 32-25 at the break. Cortez then scored seven points in the third quarter, and after building a double-digits lead added a 3-pointer along with Holman down the stretch.

Holman had 10 of her points (including a pair of 3-pointers) in the first half. Seniors Emily Pallesi and Ana Drolette scored 10 and 9 points, respectively. Morro Bay advanced to the quarterfinals with a 48-30 home win over No. 15 West Bakersfield.

In other girls first round games on Wednesday:

Immanuel 58 Golden West 29

At Reedley, the No. 2 seed Eagles (21-9) built a 14-point halftime lead and cruised to a Division IV opening round rout of the Trailblazers (9-21). Freshman guard Jenna Goertzen scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while sophomore guard Nana Moreno had eight of her 12 points in the third quarter.

Senior guard Sid Azua and freshman guard Ainlsley Jackson each scored eight points while forward Ava Schletewitz chipped in with six points. Danae Banuelos paced Golden West with 13 points.

The Eagles next host Tulare Western in a 6 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday, Feb. 16. The No. 7 seed Mustangs (15-12) also won by a 58-29 score in their playoff opener against Strathmore.

Dinuba 56, Independence 42

At Dinuba, the No. 6 Emperors (16-12) broke a tight game open with a 19-6 fourth quarter run against the visiting No. 11 Falcons (12-13) In D-IV. Junior Jalissa Espirito scored a game-high 18 points, including six of the team’s nine 3-point baskets.

Kitty Forbes, Peyton Acevedo and Samantha Gonzalez all scored eight points as Dinuba had balanced scoring as point guard Espirito controlled the tempo. Coach Mark Bray said Sydney Sandoval played strong defense while Forbes collected 10 rebounds and was aggressive near the basket.

Dinuba travels to the Central Coast for a 6 p.m. Friday game with Santa Maria. The No. 3 Saints (15-14) buried No. 14 seed Pioneer Valley 61-33.

Mission Prep 59, Sanger 44

At San Luis Obispo, the No. 2 seed Royals (16-8) took command early, building a 19-point lead thanks to a 17-7 second quarter to eliminate the No. 15 seed Apaches (14-16) in a Division II first round contest.

The loss ended the prep career of Sanger senior center-forward Krista Sheaffer, who scored 30 points in the loss. She established all scoring and career rebound records for the SHS girls program while finishing with 2,240 career points.

Parlier 47, Desert 28

In a Division V matchup at Parlier, the fifth-seeded Panthers (15-14) jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead and cruised to an opening win over the visiting No. 12 seed Scorpions (16-7) from Edwards Air Force Base.

Three players scored in double figures for Parlier. Freshman shooting guard Jazleen Thompson scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, junior point guard Chyoi Noi scored 11 points (including three triples) while junior guard Anahi Heredia chipped in with 10 points..

Parlier next travels to No. 4 Coalinga in a 6 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday. The No. 4 Horned Toads (24-4) thumped No. 13 Mt. Whitney 51-24.

Orosi 40, Firebaugh 27

IN a D-VI game at Orosi, the seventh seeded Cardinals (13-16) took charge in the final three quarters to pull away from the visiting No. 10 Eagles. Trailing by one point after the first quarter, the hosts went on a 33-19 run the rest of the way.

Orosi now travels to the eastern Sierra to take on second-seeded Bishop Union in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday. The Broncos (14-8) rolled past No. 15 Lone Pine, 45-17.

Jon Earnest
Reporter