Merced tops Buhach girls in CCC race

February 5, 2013 

— The Central California Conference girls basketball race will go down to the final day.

Merced kept its hopes of grabbing a share of the title alive by handing Buhach Colony its first conference loss and snapping the Thunder’s 10-game winning streak with a 42-40 win on Tuesday night at the Thunder Dome.

Tekerra Borden scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including three 3-pointers to help Merced erase a six-point deficit in the third quarter.

“I think I came out a little too excited in the first half,” said Borden, who added five rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. “I kind of took a breath at halftime and relaxed. I realized the team needed me as much as I need them.”

The Bears (18-7 overall, 7-2 CCC) kept to the pace to their liking in the second matchup between the teams.

Merced only turned the ball over 12 times as Buhach Colony (20-6, 8-1) waited until the fourth quarter to turn up the pressure on its press.

“That’s what we tried to do, slow down,” Bears coach Brad Reed said. “We made too many mistakes last time. We did a much better job of being patient.”

Merced went straight man-to-man with Tandra Henley guarding Buhach Colony’s sharp shooter Jessica Silva. Henley was up to the challenge, holding the Thunder’s all-time leading scorer to just nine points.

Meanwhile, the Bears started knocking down shots in the second quarter. Freshman Lexi Thompson hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 10-0 run that gave Merced a brief 16-12 lead late in the second quarter.

The Thunder answered back with a 10-0 run of their own and eventually took a 22-18 lead into intermission.

It was Borden’s turn to ignite the Bears in the third quarter, draining a pair of 3-pointers and eventually give Merced a 32-30 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

Dalonna Jones only scored five points for Merced, but dominated in the paint, finishing with 16 rebounds and seven blocks.

The Thunder never caught the Bears the rest of the way. Every time Buhach Colony crept close, Merced came up with a big shot.

Oleachea Bowers scored six crucial points in the fourth quarter.

“I think we really wanted this one,” Bowers said. “This time we won it with our defense.”

Silva did put a scare in the Bears when she knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Merced lead to 42-40 with 1:33 left.

However, Buhach Colony couldn’t make the plays down the stretch.

The Thunder can still win the title outright on Thursday at Atwater.

“We knew what we were facing tonight,” said Silva, who led BC with nine points. “We knew it was going to be a tough match. It’s one loss. We have to come ready to go to work against Atwater so we can still take the title ourselves.”

Atwater 40, Turlock 34

TURLOCK -- The Falcons jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half and held on for the win. Brianne Hunter led all scorers with 15 points.

Pitman 59, Golden Valley 44

Brittany Leon hit six 3-pointers on her way to 20 points as the Pride defeated the Cougars.

Jessica Lane paced Golden Valley with 10 points.

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