There’s no bigger pressure than playing the final game of the regular season with a playoff spot on the line. Yet when the dust had settled in the Taft High gym Friday evening the pressure had turned into disappointment after Bakersfield Christian edged out the Taft varsity girls basketball team 65-61.

There’s no bigger pressure than playing the final game of the regular season with a playoff spot on the line. Yet when the dust had settled in the Taft High gym Friday evening the pressure had turned into disappointment after Bakersfield Christian edged out the Taft varsity girls basketball team 65-61.


“This was our playoff game,” said Taft coach Ed Hill. “Unfortunately it was our last.”
With the loss, the Lady Wildcats close out the season with an overall record of and a South Sequoia League record of 4-6.


Even though the scoring was low in the early stages of the game, the Lady Wildcats had a spark as they gradually built their lead to 5-0 on field goals from Hayley Smith and Karlie Twisselman while Jessica Barlow chipped in with a free throw. Bakersfield Christian’s Alex Berkshire finally got the Lady Eagles on the scoreboard with jumper at the 4:48 mark, but Taft countered to up the lead to 7-2.
Berkshire kept the Lady Eagles in the game during the remaining minutes of the opening quarter with a three-pointer and layup to eventually tie the score at eight, Karla Lopez responded by scoring on a layup to give Taft a 10-8 lead at the end of the quarter.


Bakersfield Christian threatened to pull away in the opening moments of the second period when Demmi Nunn hit a three-pointer while Berkshire scored on a layup to give the Lady Eagles a 13-10 advantage. Taft’s Juana Espinoza ended the Lady Eagle run by hitting a jumper at the 6:05 mark to narrow the advantage to one.


The game turned into a seesaw battle with the teams exchanging points over the next 2:02. Finally, Espinoza and Alexis Juarez hit a pair of jumpers to even the score at 18. Bakersfield Christian briefly surged ahead but Juli Campos and Carla Lopez combined for three free throws before Barlow scored on a layup to give the Lady Wildcats a 23-20 advantage.


The lead did not last long after the Lady Eagles scored four points to go up 24-23 with 59 seconds remaining. Campos momentarily got the lead back for Taft with a layup. Fourteen seconds later Nunn sank a three-pointer to give Bakersfield Christian a 27-25 advantage at the break.


Bakersfield Christian attempted to pull away in the third quarter by outscoring Taft 6-3 in the first 2:39 of the period. In that span of time, the only points Taft scored came on Barlow’s layup and Jazmin Camarillo’s free throw. Taft would narrow the Lady Eagle lead to three two more times, but Bakersfield Christian countered the second go around with an 8-2 run to increase their advantage to 44-35.


The teams went on to trade baskets, including Berkshire’s three-pointer before the Lady Wildcats started turning the momentum around on Camarillo’s layup prior to time expiring. Camarillo continued the mini run into the fourth quarter by scoring on a layup. After Nunn scored, Taft took off by going on a 6-0 run to cut the Lady Eagle lead to two with 6:08 to go in the game.


Nunn briefly ended the Lady Wildcat run with a three-pointer, but Espinoza, Smith and Lopez combined to score the next six points to give Taft a 53-52 advantage with 4:24 left. Berkshire and Nunn got the momentum by back for the Lady Eagles with a layup and three-pointer. Twisselman countered with a field goal to get Taft within two at 57-55, but Taft was held to six points the rest of the way including Campos’ bank shot as time expired. In the meantime, Bakersfield Christian went on to score eight more times to win by four.


Espinoza led Taft in scoring with 12, while Lopez and Camarillo each had 11. Campos followed with 10. Nunn led Bakersfield Christian in scoring with 27 points including six three-pointers. Berkshire followed with 25.


While the Taft season has come to an end, Hill saw improvement from the team this season and with only two seniors leaving the team is looking forward to next year.


“These girls have improved a lot over the season,” he said. “We got to finish these games and learn how to win.”