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Del Oro girls have playoff run end in semi-finals

Sac High nudges Lady Eagles
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The Del Oro Lady Eagles had the highly touted Sac-ramento Dragons right where they wanted them last Wednesday in their CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III semi-final girls basketball game played at Galt High School. With 1:32 to play and the score tied at 43-43, Del Oro had visions of an upset brewing as the Black and Gold's inspired play had the Sacramento area's top-ranked team on its heels. But like great teams do, the Dragons were able to come up with a pair of key late game baskets that helped make the difference in a 51-46 win to end the Del Oro season. They made some plays down the stretch and that was the difference, said Del Oro coach Mike Takayama. It's frustrating that this team won't be able to move on. We were right with them and had a great shot at it. Del Oro ended their campaign with a record of 23-5. Despite the loss, the Lady Eagles captured their fourth straight Sierra Foothill League title and notched playoff wins over Pioneer of Woodland and El Camino to reach the Div. III semis. Sacramento started the game focusing on collaring Lady Eagles point guard Emilie Johnson and the early strategy paid off as with Johnson being held to just two points, the Lady Eagles went into halftime trailing, 23-16. Despite having Johnson kept in check early on, the Lady Eagles were still game as senior forward Ali Fletcher took an assist from Johnson for an early third quarter basket. They went on to score seven straight points as Del Oro clawed back to forge a tie at 25-25 as the third canto opened. Sacramento then ended the third quarter with an 8-2 run to extend its lead to 33-27 as the fourth quarter began but the Lady Eagles were not going to wilt. With Fletcher and Johnson teaming to six straight free tosses, Del Oro trailed by just two points at 37-35 with 4:18 to go. After the Dragons connected on one of two charity shots, Johnson answered with a big trey to pull the Lady Eagles even at 38-all. But after pulling even later at 43-43, Del Oro couldn't get over the hump. First, Sacramento's Erica Barnes sank a lay-in to put the Dragons on top with 1:12 to go and then after a Del Oro miss, the Lady Eagles played good defense and appeared to have their foes in trouble as the shot clock was winding down. However, in what turned out to be the basket of the game, Sacramento's Brittany Shine nailed a three-pointer from the corner to ice the game for the Dragons. Fletcher ended her prep career in fine fashion as she netted 21 points to lead Del Oro's upset bid. Johnson, with a strong second half, followed with 13.