Zebras fall short in Christmas Classic championship
Unable to erase a three-point lead as time ran out, the Lincoln High varsity girls basketball team’s hopes of capturing the Chavez Christmas Tournament championship ended as Oroville prevailed 41-38 Saturday.
The game concluded with the intensity of two teams fighting for each and every basket scored. By the time the final period got under way, both teams had yet to score 30 points.
But like a team on a mission, The Fighting Zebras’ Maureen Sarigumba signified Lincoln’s resolve to start the final period. When a loose ball appeared it would go out of bounds, Sarigumba sacrificed her body to save it. In the process, she got the ball to Taylor Galli who scored and tied the game 28-28.
Then, with two assists from Karla McCommas, Cassandra Jaimes hit two field goals to give the Zebras the lead with less than five minutes to play.
But like the night before, when Oroville defeated Oakmont in overtime, the Tigers continued to put pressure on the Zebras with timely field goals and successful trips to the foul line.
Lincoln failed to answer by missing their free-throw opportunities. Starting in the second half, Lincoln shot 5-for-14 from the line after missing only once in the first half.
The game came down to a Zebras' inbound pass in the final three seconds. The pass was picked off by Oroville’s Whitney Angle and that secured the victory for the Tigers.
“Hats off to Lincoln,” said Oroville head coach Tom Frazier after the game. “I’ve known (Dan) Hicks for a long time, all his teams are fundamentally sound. We just had to be patient.”
Jaimes, a senior, blossomed in the tournament with three-straight nights of double-digit points and rebounds. After the game, an emotional Jaimes spoke about her team’s performance.
“Honestly, it’s the best we’ve ever played since I’ve been in high school,” said Jaimes. “We can use this to get more wins in the future.”
Lincoln head coach Dan Hicks said the Zebras held a 45-minute practice earlier in the day to work on new defensive schemes. He said it was needed to combat an Oroville offense that put up 84 points the night prior.
That preparation was evident as Lincoln’s defense held the Tigers to 24-percent shooting from the floor. Friday night, Oroville shot 51 percent in their win against Oakmont.
Another telling statistic was in the containment of the Tigers’ senior Ashley Jenkins. Coming off a 33-point performance, Jenkins was limited to just six points against Lincoln.
Coach Hicks spoke proudly of his team, commending their performance against a 10-1 Oroville team primed for playoff competition.
“We had every opportunity to win,” said Hicks. “Some of my girls are crying, but I’m not, I’s so happy for them.”
Oroville 41. Lincoln 38
Tigers 8 14 6 13 – 41
Zebras 14 9 3 12 – 38
Oroville – Angle 3-16, 5-6, 11. 3Pt. 0-8, Coulter 3-5, 0-0, 8. 3Pt. 2-3, Jenkins 2-6, 2-2, 6. Lincoln – Jaimes 4-16, 3-4, 15. 3Pt. 2-4, Sarigumba 2-8, 4-4, 8. 3Pt. 0-2, McCommas 2-8, 3-12, 7.
Oroville – 15-63, 9-12, 41. 3Pts. 2-25. Turnovers 4.
Lincoln – 12-42, 12-22, 38. 3Pts. 2-9. Turnovers 16.