It was nearly deja vu for the Garces boys basketball team, but this time the Rams prevailed.
Two months removed from losing to Bakersfield Christian on the road after letting go of a 17-point lead, Garces defeated the Eagles 49-43 in the semifinals of the South Yosemite Conference tournament semifinals.
The Rams will play the winner of Bakersfield High vs. North in the finals at North High on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The Rams (18-9) built a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter and led 34-20 at the half.
“It’s extremely exciting,” Garces coach Brian Dignan said. “We built a slim lead into a convincing lead in the first half and then they put a really great run on us in the second half.”
BCHS (19-6) cut the Rams lead to three midway through the third quarter as Zach Hiebert hit four of his five 3-pointers in a three-minute stretch for the Eagles.
“We withstood that and stayed confident and came away with the win,” Dignan said.
Jack Hatten was hot in the first half, hitting three 3s and scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half.
J.J. Uphold recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds while Dom D’Amato and Ipreye Egbe both scored eight points for the Rams.
The win not only puts Garces in the finals of the inaugural SYC tournament that is a defacto Bakersfield city championship, it’s looms large for the Central Section Division III playoffs that begin next Tuesday.
With the win over BCHS, ranked No. 1 in D-III by MaxPreps, gives Garces a strong shot at top-2 seed in the playoffs that will be announced on Saturday afternoon.
BCHS defeated Garces 52-47 on
“We are extremely excited about this,” Dignan said. “We obviously know they didn’t (Ben Yurosek), one of their top players, but that’s basketball. We expect that if we see him again, he will be back full-force and we will look forward to that matchup, too.”
SYC Tournament Semifinals
Garces 49, Bakersfield Christian 43
BCHS (19-6): Henderson 10, Latu 7, Marantos 11, Hiebert 15.
GMHS (18-9): D’Amato 8, Hatten 17, Campbell 1, Uphold 13, Egbe 8, Marshall 2.