Just when it appeared that Bakersfield High School would run off with the Central Section girls Division II championship Friday night (March 2) at Selland Arena, Mission Oak High clawed back into contention.
However, turnovers, missed free throws and blown layups didn’t help at all as the Lady Drillers improved to 20-4 with a close, 54-52 win over the Tulare school.
Trailing 42-30 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, Mission Oak used a pair of three-point shots to close the gap to 44-41 early in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks actually got to within one point a couple of times, but couldn’t bust through. With the score 47-46 with 4:40 left in the game, Mission Oak missed two free throws and blew a layup.
Mission Oak closed to 50-49 but Bakersfield’s Taylor Caldwell sank a basket and teammate McKenna Hsiung converted two free throws with 8.6 seconds left to ice the game.
Caldwell finished with a game-high 20 points, and added six rebounds.
Mission Oak, the East Yosemite League champion, has a 23-7 record.