Cougars waiting for playoff annnouncement
Although the sophomores were singled out, it was a steady overall team effort that earned Taft College its fourth consecutive Central Valley Conference victory Saturday night and quite likely a trip to the state playoffs.
The Cougars took the lead early and never looked back as they outclassed visiting Merced College 72-39 in the Cougar Sports Center.
TC finished second in the Central Valley Conference with a 9-3 record (19-9 overall) behind Fresno City College’s fifth consecutive perfect campaign.
Now the Cougars, 12th in the final northern California rankings that were released Feb. 13, will wait playoff seeding that quite likely will see them taking to the road when first round action begins Friday.
“Yeah, we’ll probably have to play on the road, but that’s OK,” said head coach Tyrone Taylor. “This was a good way to end the regular season. Everyone contributed. We had four players in double figures.”
The thing that pleased him most was how consistent his team was throughout the game.
“We played well for the entire 40 minutes,” he said. “We did what we are supposed to do.”
The Cougars used a 7-0 run for a quick 16-6 lead, but both teams struggled to score just eight points over the next six minutes.
That’s when a pair of free throws from Maurissa Morones – who tied Summer Webb for high point honors with 19 – touched off a 15-0 Taft run that buried the Blue Devils.
It was 38-15 at the half.
With steady shooting through the second half, the Cougars never allowed Merced a chance to think about reeling them in.
Taft’s biggest lead came with 7:40 left when a basket by Zanoria Echols put the Cougars up by 34 at 66-32.
Demmi Nunn scored 13 points and contributed six of the Cougars’ 21 assists.
LaVera Robertson had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Morones had a team leading nine rebounds to go with her 19 points.
Fifteen of Webb’s points came on 5-of-9 three-point shots. She also had four assists.
Katrina Huggins had five points, five rebounds and three assists, and Echols, Bezait Anbesse, and Schalon Baysinger had two points each.
Final CVC Standings
Fresno 9-0 (25-5)
TAFT 6-3 (19-9)
Reedley 5-5 (12-14)
Merced 4-6 (10-16)
Sequoias 3-7 (7-18)
Porterville 1-9 (6-21)