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BASKETBALL: Varsity girls get second chance at state playoffs

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(GEORGE HUGHES/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(GEORGE HUGHES/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(GEORGE HUGHES/EYE OF THE TIGER)

BRANDON DEL ROSARIO

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Last weekend, the California Interscholastic Federation State Girls Basketball Division II tournament committee announced that the varsity girls basketball team is back in action and awarded them the ninth seed in the NorCal state tournament. The Tigers will play on the road against the eighth-seeded Montgomery Vikings tonight at 7 p.m.

This came as a surprise to the Tigers, who thought their season was over when they were defeated by Elk Grove in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament two weeks ago.

In most cases, the top four teams from each section go to the state tournament. However, teams who, in the eyes of the tournament committee, are deserving of a spot can be awarded a bid. Because there were a few competitive Division II schools in the northern California region, the Tigers, who were 21-8 overall after the Elk Grove loss, were added to the state push.

The Vikings come into the game with a 24-7 record, losing in the championship game of the NCS/Les Schwab Tires Girls Division II Basketball championship. The Vikings are led by junior Shayla Newman, who averages a double-double (15.0 PPG and 10.1 REB) every game.

According to senior center Isabelle Bautista, the fact that the Tigers are the underdogs in this matchup will help them succeed.

“The pressure is off; we’re just getting another chance,” Bautista said. “It’s not meaningless, but we have nothing to lose. We’re not even supposed to be playing.”

Though the team hasn’t played together since Feb. 23, Bautista believes the team is in perfect shape.

“At practice, it seemed like we never even left,” Bautista said. “Since our chemistry is strong, it’s not hard to pick back up where we left off.”

The Tigers will travel two hours to Santa Rosa High School tonight to face the Montgomery Vikings.    

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