Valley champs end season

CORCORAN -- Even in defeat (and there have been few losses), Priscilla Zepeda and Tabitha Torres walked off the Corcoran High School court for the last time in their high school career as winners.

Torres averaged 19.3 points a game in a 24-5 season for the Panthers, and became the school's all-time leading scorer with more than 2,300 points.

Zepeda averaged 12.2 points a game for the two-time Valley Division IV champions.

Torres is nicknamed 'Tabby,' perhaps after her cat, and Zepeda is 'Hot Dog' because teammates say she show boats.

Basketball is their life.

"This is all I do. This has been my life since my freshman year. Now after one game, my season just ends," Torres said following a March 9 loss, 76-55, to Bell-Jeff in a Southern Section regional playoff game.

Bell-Jeff is the defending state champion. Corcoran had 26 turnovers in the game.

Torres and Zepeda, who play on the Corcoran Blaze, an under-18 travel team, credit Doug White, who has won 10 Valley titles at Corcoran.

"It's like one of the best experiences I've ever had; playing for Coach (Doug) White, it's amazing. He's an awesome coach and all the girls that I've got to play with, it's been really fun," said Torres as she teared up.

"It hasn't really hit me yet. Right now, I feel like I'm going to come back tomorrow for another practice. It's going to be real hard knowing that this is the end of it."

Torres felt happy and sad about the end to basketball season.

"It's sad because now I'm leaving," said Torres. "But I'm going to take this experience with me and remember it forever. Who goes to high school and wins two Valley championships? I can say I did."

Zepeda also felt emotional.

"I'm going to miss my coach. His advice and the good way he talks to us. Everything my coach has said and the good memories that we've made as a team. I'll remember that forever," said Zepeda, who wants to major in kinesiology.

She watched the varsity girls play while she was at John Muir Junior High.

"I thought I wanted to be exactly like them after watching when I was little," said Zepeda. "I knew I wanted to play on that team and share the experience. I came out fearless."