Taft College made 10th-ranked Reedley College work hard for a Central Valley Conference victory Saturday night. Reedley was coming off a 72-point (109-37) win over Porterville three nights earlier, but found the scrappy Cougars a much bigger challenge. The Tigers closed the first half and opened the second half with scoring flurries that proved too much for the Cougars to overcome. The final score was 78-57. "I was really pleased with the way we hustled and played hard," Cougar coach Greg McCall said. "This is a great bunch of girls to work with. They really try hard."
Depth is a problem for the Cougars who have just eight players that see equally time on the court. Reedley had a dozen and coach Brian Tessler substituted frequently. "This was a tough loss, but I think we still can do well in the conference," McCall said after his team dropped to 0-2 (3-14 overall). "It was good because we had an opportunitdy to work against a good pressure team." Reedley (19-5, 2-0) employs a swarming full-court pressure that double-teams the point guards. That pressure forced 24 turnovers and played a key role in allowing the Tigers to put a little distance after TC made the first half close. Reedley led by just two (32-30) with 1:24 left in the half when the Tigers converted three of four free throws for a five-point lead. But in the last 51 seconds the Tigers made three steals for three quick baskets that led to an 11-point halftime bulge.
Reedley opened the second half with a 13-3 run in the first five minutes and eventually built a 25-point lead before the Cougars slowed the Tigers with their own pressure. "We didn't give up, and that's what I like about this team," McCall said. "They just keep working hard the entire game." The only thing that bothered McCall was his team's inability to make shots in close. "We must have missed 20 layups tonight. That was the big difference." And free-throws. The Cougars made 5-of-15 while the Tigers sank 18-of-36. Lexi Garvey led the Cougars with 16 points. Ashley Anfield scored 10, and Sharde Little 9. Marsharica Quinn and Carolyn Stribling scored 6 and 7 points and each pulled down eight rebounds. TC will be on the road to play Fresno City College Wednesday and will host Porterville Saturday at 5 p.m.
Reedley (78)—Kaufmann 15, Cooley 6, Blate 10, Crosson 4, Amundsen 23, Phanthamany 1, Hampton 9, Echevesste 1, Finney 3, Collins 4. Totals: 25, 18-36—78
Taft (57)—Little 9, Anfield 10, Quinn 6, Hubbard 4, Garvey 16, Washington 2, Stribling 7, Thompson 3.
Halftime: Reedley 41, Taft 30
3-point goals: Reedley 8 (amundsen 5), Taft 6 (Gravey 3, Quinn 2, Little 1). Total fouls: Reedley 16, Taft 25. Fouled out: Little, Garvey. Technicals: McCall.