CHOWCHILLA -- For the six returning Chowchilla High boys basketball players, tonight is about a second chance. It's an opportunity to reach a goal they fell short of last year.
The Redskins want to play at Selland Arena.
Chowchilla can accomplish that goal tonight when its hosts No. 8 seed Coalinga (23-8) in the semifinals of the Central Section Division 4 playoffs.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Redskins lost to Sierra in the semifinals last year 69-62.
"Last year was a big deal, especially losing to Sierra four times," said senior Aaron Deatherage. "It feels good to have a second chance. We hope we play Sierra (in the finals). It makes it more exciting."
The fifth-seeded Redskins (20-7) reached the semifinals by upsetting No. 4 Granite Hills 67-52 on Friday.
Deatherage (20 points) and Sean Kinsley (19) led the way for Chowchilla after a slow start in the first half.
"We missed nine layups and three put-backs at the rim and we had 10 turnovers in the first half," Chowchilla coach Fred Gaines said. "After jumping out early we let them back in the game. I told them if we made our layups we'd be up 25 points.
"We went on a 15-0 run in the second half and took control of the game."
The Redskins were expecting a third crack at top-seeded Washington Union. The Panthers handed Chowchilla a pair of gut-wrenching three-point losses during North Sequoia League play.
However, on the bus ride home on Friday, the team found out Coalinga upset Washington Union.
"The kids were fired up, they were glad to get another home game," Gaines said. "We wanted to battle Union again, but it got kind of rowdy on the bus when we found out we get to play at home."
In the Hoarned Toads, Chowchilla faces a team with a balanced scoring attack. Coalinga has four players who average eight or more points per game, led by Anthony Zataray's 11.7 points.
The Redskins didn't face Coalinga this season, but did split a pair of games against the Horned Toads over the summer during a tournament in Bakersfield.
Gaines likes the way his team is playing going into the matchup, especially the contributions he's been getting from his big men duo of Justin Hudspeth (6-foot-5) and Andy Samaniego (6-4).
"Our guys want to get to get to Selland Arena," Gaines said. "Especially after losing to Sierra four times last year. We lost two starters in that semifinal game. "We've got to come out ready to play."