Visit the photo gallery at vidaenelvalle.com to see more pictures of the game.
Kingsburg lost a first-quarter lead, then drove back in the fourth for a 63-55 overtime victory in the Central Section D-4 semifinal against visiting Kerman.
The No. 3 seeded Vikings were confident against No. 7 Kerman, who was nothing less than hopeful. Under the direction of a new coach, Kerman was not expected to qualify for the playoffs. But they did with an 8-2 conference (19-8 overall) record facing Kingsburg. The Vikings (16-11, 8-4) pulled ahead early in the game with a four-point lead in the middle of the first quarter, but the Lions roared back.
In the fourth quarter with just 8 seconds left in regulation, the Vikings managed to tie the game at 50-50. In those final seconds, desperately the Lions attempted a shot but missed, which sent the soldout semifinal game to overtime. With the opportunity to play in the D-4 Final at the Selland Arena, the Lions scored first in OT, but it was the Vikings who pulled away toward the 63-55 final score.
“Coach was telling us to treat this game like it’s your last … you guys got to
give it your all,” said 17-year-old junior Eric Lopez of Kingsburg. “They are a very good team, that number 1 and number 10, our coach told us to shut them down.” His parents did not make the game, but he said he’ll drag them (Alicia Lopez and stepfather Jose Luis Langarita) to the Selland Arena for the final on Saturday.
“Heartbreaking, we came so far but came up short by one game to the championship,” said Kerman sophomore and point guard Jose Acosta, who also plays tennis and cross country. “We’ll hope for the best and try harder next year.”
Get this: Coaching Kerman to the CIF Semifinal is Robert Zavala, the offensive coach for the Lions football team. He’s been a football coach for 13 years in Kerman. This is his first year as the basketball coach. Not a bad showing. Look for Zavala on the sideline this football season too.