End comes to Tigers' hopes of Central Section title with 65-39 loss to Bullpups in playoffs

By Ed Martin, Editor
Sterling Stinger battles beneath the basket.
Sterling Stinger battles beneath the basket.
Photo by Nancy Silva

Lemoore's solid solid season came to an inglorious end Friday night, amid a second-half onslaught by Hanford and fan altercation that prompted a halt to playoff action. The Bullpups outscored Lemoore 40-18 in the second half to break open a close game and eventually outlasted the Tigers 65-39.

Lemoore's normally fluid shooters fell mostly silent the second half. Jaylunn English led the Tigers with 13 points while Allen Perryman finished with 11 points. The Bullpups, the Division II No. 2 seed, will play host to No. 3 Ridgeview in the Central Section semifinals.

The game was halted for 10-15 minutes due to an altercation involving fans outside the gym. The officials ordered the teams to their respective locker rooms and threatened to ask all spectators to leave. The teams eventually returned to the court to finish the contest.

Hanford improved to 24-4 on the season and shared the West Yosemite League championship with Lemoore. The Tigers fell to 20-7.  

Lemoore 65, Memorial 62

Lemoore basketball fans were treated to some thrilling basketball this week. On Tuesday, a faithful Tiger contingent watched as the Lady Tigers roared from behind to beat Tehachapi 48-46, and on Wednesday, the varsity boys’ desperately seeking a round-two rematch with Hanford, held off a desperate Memorial team 65-62 in overtime.

Both games were won in the final seconds to send the Tiger faithful to second-round matchups. The Tigers hope to rebound from a disappointing season-ending loss to the Bullpups just a week ago that forced a tie for the West Yosemite League championship. Lemoore won the first-round matchup at home.

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Does Tiger Coach Joel Slight have any special plans for Friday’s rematch with the Bullpups? “We can’t turn the ball over,” he said. “We have to rebound and just put ourselves in a position at the end of the game to hopefully close it out.”

Lemoore faced the Bullpups in a 7 p.m. showdown at Hanford High School on Friday (Feb. 27) before what is expected to be a capacity crowd.

The Tigers fell behind early 8-0 but regained their composure to take a 35-32 halftime lead thanks to a pair of acrobatic drives by talented junior-guard Allen Perryman. Perryman, who fouled out late in the final period and wasn’t available in overtime, led all scorers with 20 points.

Matt Borba kicked off a hot Tiger third quarter with a pair of quick baskets to give Lemoore a 39-32 advantage. Borba finished with 12 points and was a tenacious force on the offensive boards. Following a short bank shot to put his Tigers up 43-39 he followed with an offensive rebound and was fouled. He connected on both free throws as the Tigers went up 45-39.

“I felt that we executed really well,” said a jubilant Borba moments after winning the game. “We made a couple of mistakes but the emotions were high and it was a very close game. We need to come back strong on Friday and do a lot better.”

Borba was also a force on the boards. “I was really trying to help my team by hitting the boards and getting the rebounds.”

The Panthers kept chipping away in the second half and managed to go up 57-56 with 1:49 left in regulation.  Perryman found an open Borba in the lane to regain the lead at 58-57. Memorial’s Lunden Taylor tied the game at 58 with his free throw.

Perryman fouled out at the 1:11 mark.  With 41 seconds left in the game, Memorial’s Taylor double dribbled, awarding the ball to the Tigers. Jaylunn English’s missed shot with 7 seconds left missed its mark, but the Tigers got the back off the rebound and called a quick timeout. Back on the court, Jerald Campbell took a long shot but missed to force overtime.

In the four-minute overtime period the Tigers played steady and when English soared above the rim and scored, the Tigers had a 64-61 lead with just seconds remaining. Memorial had a final shot at tying the game, but missed.

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