Sierra College hands Taft College a 16-point loss

 A second half cold spell spoiled Taft College’s chances of getting a victory in the first round of playoffs here Saturday night, losing 71-55 to No.6 Sierra College.
The Cougars trailed by just one point early in the second half after trailing by 12 at the break.

“We were down by 12 at the break but got within a point at 44-43,” said head coach Tyrone Taylor.  “We just couldn’t find the basket after that.  We went cold.  We even missed three or four lay-ups.”

Sierra’s press and hot outside shooting prevented the Cougars from getting close again.

“Turnovers killed us,” Taylor said.  “We made some bonehead passes with their press.”

That gave the Wolverines more scoring chances, and they capitalized.

“They hit 10 three-pointers,” he said.  “We made just one.”

Sierra’s defense kept the Cougars off balance, taking them out of their usual balanced offense.

“We didn’t get our usual balanced scoring,” Taylor said.  “Of the nine players we have, seven didn’t hit their scoring averages.  That was a big difference.”

Freshman guard Summer Webb came into the game averaging 18 points a game, but managed 10.  She’s the team leader in three-point shots, but came up empty.
LaVera Robertson and Zanoria Echols shared the team lead with 12 apiece.

Center Maurissa Morones, a second team All-Central Valley Conference pick, was held scoreless and usually prolific Demmi Nunn scored seven and had the lone Cougar trey.

Freshman Echols led the team in rebounds with seven.  Robertson had six.

The Cougars finished the season 19-9 and runner-up to Fresno (10-0 CVC, 25-5 overall).

More importantly, TC made the playoffs.

“Overall, we had a great season,” Taylor said.  “We finished second in the conference and, better, we made the playoffs.  That’s a good accomplishment for us.”

Sierra’s prize is a trip to Fresno tomorrow to take on the No. 3 northern California seed Rams.  TC would be making that trip if it had won Saturday.  In the regular season, Fresno handed the Cougars their two worst defeats of the season.

The winner of the Fresno-Sierra game will play the winner of No. 2 City College of San Francisco-No. 7 Siskiyous for the NorCal title and a shot at the Final Four.