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Lady Generals season ends in semifinals

The Shafter High girls basketball team saw their season and Head Coach Shawn Pennell's tenure end with a loss to the top-seeded Eagles of Bakersfield Christian on Wednesday night, 70-47, in the semifinals of the Central Section Division III playoffs.

The Lady Generals, seeded number four in the tourney, came out firing in the first quarter, using a smothering defense to force a few Eagle turnovers and turning them into easy points. After leading after the first quarter, the teams traded baskets, hitting each other like a heavyweight title bout.

But, with just over three minutes to go in the first half, the Eagles went on a 10-2 run to close out the half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, going into the locker room with an eight point lead, 33-25.

Being known as a third quarter team, the Eagles didn't disappoint their fans, outscoring Shafter 19-4 in the quarter, putting the Lady Generals in a deep hole that they couldn't climb out of.

The only points Shafter scored in the third quarter were four free throws by Alexia Ramirez. The Generals could not hit a shot in that third stanza, letting the Eagles build a big lead going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Shafter scored a few points, but the Eagles matched them and didn't let Shafter get close for the rest of the game. Ramirez led the Lady Generals with 14 points. The usually consistent outside shooting of the Lady Generals was not there on Wednesday night, forcing Shafter to try to find scoring from elsewhere.

The loss ends the tenure of Shawn Pennel, who coached the Lady Generals for 20 years and built the program into one of the premier teams in school history and one of the tops in the county.

Shafter's memorable season saw them ranked the highest ever among Kern County schools, as well as going into that semifinal game riding a 17-game winning streak.

And likely it isn't the end of the team's success. With only a few seniors on the team and the majority still underclassmen, with a junior varsity and freshmen team that went through the SSL undefeated, the future for the Lady Generals is bright indeed.

 

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