Tajaheray McMahan made a big three-point play late in the game to help the Merced College women’s basketball team upset the top-ranked team in the state.
It’s the first time in 22 years the Lady Blue Devils have reached the state Final Four.
Merced College handed Palomar just its second loss this season with a 61-59 win in the California Community College Athletic Association State quarterfinals at Ventura College on Thursday afternoon. The Comets had won 11 consecutive games.
“They were number one in the state, extremely talented,” said Merced College coach Allen Huddleston, whose team improved to 27-5 this season. “They had post players who were long, guards that were athletic. I think our speed really bothered them.”
Merced College outscored Palomar 16 to 6 in the third quarter to open up an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Comets battled back and took the lead in the fourth quarter.
McMahan’s basket and free throw retook the lead for MC.
“It was a hard fought game,” Huddleston said. “I think our defense did a pretty good job. They had one player (Monica Todd), who had a really good game. I think we did a good job stopping their role players.”
Todd finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds to lead Palomar.
Merced had three players finish with double-figure points, led by Shea Glasglow-Williams. The freshman scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. McMahan finished with 15 points and Suzana Soji added 10 points.
Trinity Washington only scored four points, but chipped in with 12 rebounds and eigth assists.
Huddleston also received nice production off the bench with Ayaka Nakashima (seven points) and Brianna Moore (eight points).
Merced College will face Fresno City in the semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Rams (27-5) defeated LA Trade Tech 88-81 on Thursday.
The Blue Devils are 2-2 against Fresno City this season.
High School Softball
Golden Valley 8, Beyer 0 in Modesto – The Cougars opened the Waterford Tournament with two wins. Marissa Bertuccio struck out 13 hitters in a 3-2 win over Hughson. Vanessa Saltos highlighted a three-run first inning by Golden Valley (4-0) with an RBI single.
In the win over Beyer, Nini Aranda hit a home run and drove in two runs and Saltos added two hits and two RBIs. Bertuccio struck out 10 and tossed a one-hit shutout.
El Capitan 100, Atwater 62 in Merced – Aidan Ramirez (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke) and Kaileb Michael (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke) both won two individual events to lead the Gauchos to a win over the Falcons.
El Capitan 8, Merced 1 in Merced – Oliver Carlos, Bode Chiat, Andres Garcia, Tenzin Sherpa and Andres Rosales all won their singles matches for the Gauchos.