Toros finish third in own tourney
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
The Matilda Torres Toros girls basketball team celebrates with the third place plaque after a 32-28 victory over Minarets in the third place game of the Cen-Cal Invitational on Wednesday.
With a win in its final game, the second of a back-to-back, the Matilda Torres Toros girls basketball team picked up its first varsity plaque — a third place finish in its own Cen-Cal Invitational at Matilda Torres last week.
The Toros avenged a 30-point loss to the Minarets Mustangs on Dec. 10 with a 32-28 victory to finish third in their own tournament.
“It shows a lot of our character and maturity,” head coach Jose Villalobos said. “We’re getting better with our consistency on strategy. We talk during the week about our plan and they are doing a better job of staying in the plan and not going out of order.”
All-Tournament selections Cheng Lee and Sabrina Cerillo filled their roles to lead the team.
Cerillo led the team in scoring over the final three games with 34 points to go with 22 rebounds. Cerillo also has a knack for blocking shots without committing a foul. She had 13 blocks over the last three games, including six against Pacheco-Los Banos.
Lee scored 24 points over the final three games with 13 rebounds and 13 steals.
“What I love seeing is we work very hard and to see the growth is an amazing thing,” Villalobos said. “They are having more self-confidence. When you lose, practices have a different energy. The wins will make the practice worth it. Even the parents are even excited. We are working hard and they are getting better every week.”
Villalobos had to make some adjustments to his schedule when a team dropped out of the tournament at the last minute. This caused him to sacrifice his team with two games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, it was the second game of a doubleheader that the Toros came up with their only win of the tournament.
“Even the first game, we were pressing full court and I noticed the girls were getting fatigued so I asked them how they felt,” Villalobos said. “They said they were fine and we went back to pressing. They (Minarets) were tired and we took advantage of their mistakes and we capitalized. We made shots when it mattered.”
Toros 32, Mustangs 28
Even after falling behind midway through the fourth quarter on the second game of a back-to-back, the Toros had more energy than the Minarets Mustangs, and it showed.
After trailing 28-25 with about three minutes left, the Toros outscored Minarets 7-0 to pick up the victory Tuesday afternoon.
Lee led the Toros with 14 points to go with six steals and six rebounds. Cerillo also filled the stat sheet with 10 points, nine rebounds, three steals and four blocks.
Minarets’ star Melia Kamalani scored 19 of her team’s 28 points, but all of her buckets came down low or from the free throw line. The Mustangs had trouble with the outside shot and didn’t hit a 3-pointer all game.
Kamalani scored the first three points, but the Toros got two layups from Lee. After two Kamalani free throws, Lee closed the first quarter with another layup and a 6-5 lead.
Cerillo hit a 3-pointer and Karina Sandoval added another while Cerillo made a free throw and Lee turned two steals into two layups for a 13-0 run and a 12-point lead.
Kamalani stopped the run with a bucket, but Cerillo got a steal and made a layup to keep the lead at nine.
After a Minarets bucket, Lee made a layup for a 21-9 lead heading into the half.
Unfortunately, the tides turned in the third quarter. The Toros missed all seven shots and committed eight turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs scored 13 points in the quarter to take a 22-21 lead into the fourth. Kamalani scored eight for the Mustangs.
Neither team scored for the first two-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter before Kamalani made a pair of free throws for a 24-21 lead.
Cerillo put back a miss to cut the lead down to one.
Both teams committed turnovers on their next three possessions before Kamalani made a layup for a 26-23 lead.
The Toros quickly answered with a Sandoval layup, but the Mustangs made a layup for a three-point lead.
Sandoval found Cerillo for a short jumper. After a Layla Webster rebound, Sandoval gave the Toros the lead with a short bucket.
Lee then picked up a steal and made a layup to open the lead to three with about a minute left.
Minarets had a chance to cut the lead to one, but missed a pair of free throws. The Toros gave the ball back, but Brenda Delgado took the ball out of the Minarets’ ball handler’s hands for a turnover.
Minarets had to go into foul mode and Webster made one-of-two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to secure a 32-28 victory.
Bulldogs 44, Toros 38
Despite a 20-point performance from Cerillo, the LeGrand Bulldogs scored just enough to edge the Toros on the first game of Torres’ back-to-back in the tournament.
Cerillo added eight rebounds and three blocks. Lee scored 10 points with five steals. Four other Toros’ players scored.
The Toros stayed with the Bulldogs in the first quarter thanks to seven turnovers while the Toros only committed two.
LeGrand scored the first points of the game, but Lee answered with a short bucket. After LeGrand tied the score, Cerillo found Webster for a bucket.
The Bulldogs made a pair of layups before Cerillo drove the lane for a bucket.
After a LeGrand offensive putback, Cerillo drove to the bucket for a layup and added two free throws.
The Bulldogs converted a 3-point play for a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
LeGrand extended its lead to seven with the first four points of the second quarter.
It took the Toros almost five minutes to score and that included five turnovers and four missed shots before Cerillo banked in a four-footer to cut the lead to five and start a 6-0 run.
Sandoval added a layup and Cheng hit a 15-footer to cut the lead to one heading into the halftime break.
LeGrand scored the first four points of the second half before Cerillo hit a 3-pointer. However, LeGrand answered with a layup and a 3-pointer for a seven-point lead.
Off a pass from Lee, Cerillo drained another 3-pointer to cut the lead to four.
LeGrand scored five straight points to get the lead to nine.
However, Torres got a layup from Jasmine Garcia off an inbounds pass from Lee and a rebound and layup from Cerillo to get within five.
LeGrand closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer for 34-26 lead.
The Bulldogs added a jumper and a free throw to extend their lead to nine.
Cheng hit a short jumper, but LeGrand added a free throw. Cheng made a layup, then Cerillo drove for a layup and Cheng turned a steal into another layup for an 8-1 run to cut the lead to 38-34.
The Bulldogs put back a miss to get their lead to six. They added a free throw for a 43-34 lead with about two minutes left in the game.
The Toros missed their next two shots, but got a steal and bucket from Cerillo with about a minute left.
A Bulldogs’ free throw extended the lead to seven with 34.6 seconds left. Brenda Delgado made a free throw from Lee to cut the lead to five, but the Toros couldn’t get on the scoreboard for the rest of the game in a 44-38 loss.
Panthers 62, Toros 10
In a match-up against the eventual tournament champions, the Toros couldn’t stay with the Pacheco-Los Banos Panthers.
Pacheco took a 29-8 lead into the half. The Toros committed 20 turnovers in the first half and made just one-of-15 field goals, including taking just three shots in the second quarter.
Things didn’t get much better in the second half. The Toros missed all nine shots and were shut out in the third quarter and scored just two points in the fourth quarter.
They were outscored 33-2 in the second half while committing 16 turnovers and going just 1-for-16 from the field.
Cerillo led the Toros with four points with five rebounds and two more blocked shots. Jasmine Garcia made three free throws for the Toros.