Most Viewed Stories
Yellowjackets give Portola scare in final game
For one night it was nearly impossible to tell which team was a two-win club and which was on its way to locking up the No. 2 seed in the Division V playoffs.
The Williams High girls basketball team finished its season in dramatic fashion in Williams on Friday, falling just short of a shocking upset of Portola.
Though the Yellowjackets lost 56-54, they had a chance to tie the game at the end.
Down two points with 13 seconds left, coach Gary Cranford called a time-out and set up an inbound play for sharp-shooting senior guard Betty Rivera.
Rivera's shot just missed the mark, but sophomore forward Emilee Cranford grabbed the rebound. Cranford's momentum carried her too far under the hoop and her athletic shot under the hoop didn't fall, and the ball rolled out of bounds.
Five seconds remained on the clock but Williams denied the inbound pass several times before junior forward Ashlin Covarrubias and Cranford nearly secured a steal, but the final buzzer cut short any chance at a shot.
"I wanted it to be a good night for our seniors since it was their last game and I hope that they had a good season this year with us and the team," Cranford said.
Cranford scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds but was surprised how well Williams played because the Tigers dominated in the teams' previous meeting on Jan. 28, 59-29.
Playing at home and having a spirited Senior Night crowd helped energize the team, she said.
Williams fell behind 27-20 at halftime and Portola's lead remained at seven points entering the fourth quarter but the 'Jackets were gunning for the upset.
"During the second half our passes were a little bit better, our rebounding got better and our free throws were the best that we've improved," Cranford said.
Trailing 51-43 with just over three minutes remaining, Rivera banked in her third 3-pointer of the game and junior guard Elizabeth Mendez added two buckets to close the gap to one point with 1:27 remaining.
Portola center Joannie Roach made a free throw and a bucket to give the Tigers a four-point lead, but Williams guard Mingy Velazquez made it a two-point game with a put-back after a missed three-pointer by Rivera to set up an exciting final 30 seconds.
"Throughout the whole season we improved a lot. I see that everybody tried, I told them to try, this is our last game so I'm really proud of them, they did really good," Rivera said.
Rivera finished the final game of her high school basketball career with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals and helped guide a young team through a rough season.
Williams finished the season with a 2-16 overall record and went 0-5 in Mid-Valley League - South play.
"I was a little scared that we were going to do bad but, you know what, we came out as a team strong so we did pretty good. I'm not regretting anything, I'm glad I played basketball this year," Rivera said.
Senior guard Kayla Mackaben scored four points and added six rebounds, senior guard Kelsie Alvernaz scored two points and made four rebounds, and senior Jazmin Gomez picked up a steal in their final game.
Mendez scored 11 points, and Covarrubias added two points and 10 rebounds.
Casey Pearson led Portola with 17 points, Roach added 15s, and Marissa Wehrman scored 13 while grabbing 13 rebounds.
Williams didn't make the playoffs, but Portola survived and earned the No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season with a 22-4 overall record and going 6-0 in league play.
CONTACT Kirk Baron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.