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Turlock Christian stops Sharks

Posted: Thursday, Mar 7th, 2013

Turlock Christian’s Halie Bergman leads a fast break past several St. Francis Central Coast Catholic players during the second half Wednesday at St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High in Watsonville. Bergman scored 39 points. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — After stopping a team that had a do-it-all superstar basketball player, the Sharks were given the task of stopping yet another squad that had such a player.

Unfortunately for the St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High girls basketball team, it couldn’t match Turlock Christian.

The Eagles used a late third-quarter rally that spilled into the fourth quarter and eliminated St. Francis 63-56 in the first round of the CIF Northern California Division V tournament.

The Sharks had hopes of getting a win much like in their last Northern California tournament appearance in 2008.

Halie Bergman had other plans.

The Eagles’ do-it-all standout scored a game-high 39 points, including a fourth quarter where she had 12 points in rallying the visitors back.

The comeback started with 1:02 to go in the third quarter. Bergman drove down the baseline and hit a runner. After a stop, she came back and hit another contested layup. Turlock got another stop and Bergman led the charge. A Turlock teammate missed, but Kate Farrar was there for the putback at the buzzer, closing the gap to 41-39.

Bergman wasted no time tying the game in the fourth quarter. On the Eagles’ first possession, she hit a close bank shot.

St. Francis answered back when Sonja Shumake shook a defender and sank a layup, giving the Sharks a 43-41 advantage.

Turlock Christian didn’t waiver. On its next possession, Aria Morelli hit a three-pointer to boost the Eagles to a 44-43 advantage. Farrar followed up with two free throws with 6:34 to go.

The teams stayed close, but came back to even at 49-49 when Lauren Price went coast-to-coast twice for layups, the second coming with 4:50 to go.

That was the Sharks’ last basket for two minutes, as Turlock Christian’s defense shut down the home team. But it had trouble itself scoring at will. It did retake the lead when Bergman and Monique McMeechan each hit a putback, giving Turlock Christian a 53-49 lead.

St. Francis ended its scoring drought when Price hit two free throws with 2:44 to go. Back came Turlock Christian. Bergman stared down the Sharks, raced to the paint and got an and-1 with 2:09 to go, powering the Eagles to a 56-51 lead.

From there, it was a matter of whether the Sharks could get to within one possession and get a stop. They did just that with 1:12 to go, when Price hit a three in a Turlock Christian player’s eye, cutting the Sharks’ deficit to 58-56. A Shark defender forced the ball out of Bergman’s hands, and the Sharks faithful roared in approval.

But in a frantic few seconds, the Eagles forced a turnover and, with 1:28 to go, held control again. Bergman took advantage, slicing down the lane and finding and open McMeechan, who hit a close-range shot, giving the Eagles a 60-56 lead.

Turlock Christian scored the last five points of the game.

For the complete article see the 03-07-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-07-2013 paper.

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