The Merced High girls basketball came into Tuesday night’s Central California Conference showdown against Turlock knowing they had to win to have a shot at a conference championship.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-point lead at the half and held off Merced’s second-half charge to clinch their second consecutive CCC championship with a 51-48 win at Clemons Court.
Turlock improved to 20-4 overall and 10-0 in the CCC with two games remaining. The Bulldogs have a two-game lead on Merced (19-4, 8-2 CCC) and have swept both games against the Bears.
Merced outscored Turlock 19 to 8 in the third quarter to pull within 34-31 at the end of three quarters.
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The Bulldogs built the lead back up to 12 points in the fourth quarter with the help of Hope Salsig (17 points). Merced stormed back and cut the lead to 49-48 with 10 seconds left, but couldn’t overtake Turlock.
Amaya Ervin led Merced with 20 points. Jada Johnson added 14 points for the Bears.
Atwater 50, Golden Valley 38 in Atwater – Lexi Valencia scored 17 points as the Falcons won a key CCC matchup against the Cougars to keep Atwater in third place. The top three teams in the CCC qualify for the playoffs.
Amoni Claiborne added 11 points for the Falcons (14-11 overall, 6-4 CCC).
Delia Moore led the Cougars with 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Los Banos 58, Livingston 42 in Los Banos – The Tigers (17-9, 8-1 Western Athletic Conference) moved a step closer to a possible WAC championship with a big win at home against the Wolves. Amelia Smith led the way for LB with 20 points and four assists. Emily Lonetree also played well, recording 13 points and eight steals.
Annie Winton led Livingston with 19 points.
Le Grand 7, Ripon Christian 1 in Ripon – Francisco Flores scored two goals as the Bulldogs improved to 10-0-2 in the Southern League. Andres Lua also scored for Le Grand, giving him 31 goals on the season, which ties him for 10th in the state according to MaxPreps.