If the opening-round action is any indication, the Kern High School District might have something special with its first South Yosemite Conference basketball championships.
That was particularly true on the girls side, where there were several thrilling finishes and three of the tournament's top six seeds — all from the Southwest Yosemite League — were upset in Monday’s first-round action.
No. 3 Frontier, No. 5 Stockdale and No. 6 Centennial all lost, while second-seeded Tehachapi escaped with a 62-59 victory over No. 15 Garces at North. The Rams entered the game with just one victory in 21 games this season.
The Warriors (16-1), the South Yosemite League champions, led 45-37 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Rams rallied and eventually tied the game 57-57 with 1:40 to play on a driving banker by Addisyn McMurtrey.
McMurtrey finished with 27 points, 25 coming in the second half. She had 15 points in the fourth quarter alone. Mia D’Amato had 12 points for the Rams (1-21).
But Aleijay Bryant scored Tehachapi’s final four points, including two free throws with 9 seconds to play, and the Warriors held on.
Bryant finished with a team-high 16 points and Teagan Thurman scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half for Tehachapi, which will play No. 7 Mira Monte in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round at Golden Valley. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Here’s a look at other first-round action:
Boys first round
No. 1 Bakersfield 67, No. 16 Ridgeview 34
David Whatley scored a game-high 21 points, Ryan McGee had 17 and Josh Geary added 12 to lead the Drillers (20-5), which led 31-13 at the half. Mejia scored 14 for the Wolf Pack (7-18).
No. 2 Bakersfield Christian 83, No. 18 Tehachapi 48
Zach Hiebert made four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 12 points, and Lendl Henderson Jr. added 11 to lead the Eagles (18-5), who led 34-11 at the end of the first quarter. Nathaniel Webb had 12 points and for the Warriors (7-19).
No. 3 Garces 77, No. 14 Foothill 40
Dom D’Amato scored 14 points and Ibreye Egbe 12 to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Rams (16-9). Jack Hatten and Joseph Campbell added 10 apiece for Garces. Chaun Davis had 15 for the Trojans (12-13).
No. 4 Independence 66, No. 13 South 28
Josh Codaman made six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points, and Cameron Brown added 17 to lead the Falcons (16-6). Prince King had a team-high 13 points for the Rebels (10-13).
No. 5 North 56, No. 12 Frontier 33
Larry Atkerson sank three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Stars (16-9). Ty Silva scored nine points, all on 3-pointers, for the Titans (9-17).
No. 7 Liberty 71, No. 10 East 41
Brock Bratton had 12 points and Ryan Bustos added 10 to lead the Patriots (8-15). Jesus Ramirez had a team-high 15 points for the Blades (12-15).
No. 8 Stockdale 62, No. 9 West 57
Lawrence Duru had a game-high 18 points and Akari Alali added 17 to lead the Mustangs (13-11). Kobe McCollough scored 17 points for the Vikings (14-11).
No. 6 Centennial 97, No. 11 Mira Monte 77
No. 17 Golden Valley 66, No. 15 Highland 58
Markell Brooks scored 17 points, Adrian Hodges had 13 and Jermaine Dobbs added 12 to lead the Bulldogs (7-18). Isaiah Pitino made five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points for the Scots (9-17).
Girls first round
No. 4 Liberty 57, No. 13 Bakersfield Christian 52
Ire Penesa-Heiser scored a team-high 17 points, and Breanna Canfield and Hannah Anderson had 12 apiece to lead the Patriots (12-11). Dami Sule had 28 points for the Eagles, who led 28-24 at the half.
No. 12 Highland 56, No. 5 Stockdale 48
Jayden Lopez and Mia Ferguson scored 15 points apiece to help the Scots (17-9) rally for an upset of the Mustangs (14-10), who led 29-21 at the half. Ebele Mbogwu scored a game-high 17 points and Aliyah Wood had 15 points for Stockdale.
No. 7 Mira Monte 45, No. 10 Independence 44
Aleva Guel scored 13 points and Samantha Perez added 11 and three fourth-quarter 3-pointers to help the Lions (16-12) hold on. Hailee Julius had a game-high 15 points for the Falcons (11-12).
No. 8 East 58, No. 9 Golden Valley 33
Alaisha Landeros scored 16 points and Kanyah Patterson added 15 to lead the Blades (15-8) past the Bulldogs (9-17). Aalaysha Blakley had 15 for Golden Valley.
No. 1 Bakersfield 53, No. 17 West 30
No. 14 Ridgeview 63, No. 3 Frontier 41
No. 11 North 39, No. 6 Centennial 37