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Vikings can't come back against Rio Linda

Oakmont to play for third at Chavez Classic
By: Brett Ranford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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A late comeback fell short for the Oakmont High girls basketball team Friday night at the Chavez Christmas Classic in Lincoln. The Vikings trailed by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter before losing 54-50 to the Rio Linda. The Knights made eight 3-pointers in the game and Oakmont sent them to the line 25 times. The Vikings were held to just eight points, but guard Jennifer Gong scored her seven points and Sabrina Ali added seven in the period as well. Despite opportunities inside the last 30 seconds the Vikings couldn’t take advantage of a 51-50 deficit. The Vikings are still missing one of their star players in Pauline Parker. Brianna Morin also did not play due to injury. The two teams met in the Roseville Rotary Tournament last week where Oakmont won the game 60-53. The difference in their second meeting of the preseason was Rio Linda’s three-point shooting and free throws. Ali led the way for Oakmont with 20 points and two rebounds, and the junior forward had a look at a three to tie the game with seconds left but caught only rim. With 16.4 seconds left in the game Ali went to the line for a chance to tie or take the lead, down 51-50. As she made the first Rio Linda snagged the rebound on the second and subsequently went to the line and iced their free throws. Oakmont was able to limit Rio Linda’s star player Florentina Mendoza to 16 points following her 30-point showing against West Campus on Thursday. In both of their meetings the Vikings have held Mendoza to 16 points. “They were making their threes, free throws and we couldn’t stop the dribble penetration,” said Viking head coach Al Voigt. “We needed to play good individual defense and help out as a team, being aware of help and getting out on defense. They didn’t do anything different than the first time we played them. We didn’t convert at the end and we waited until the fourth quarter to come out and play.” Gong’s seven points in the fourth quarter were a big boost for her team’s last-ditch efforts to cut into a double-digit lead. Gong finished with seven points, four rebounds and an assist. Shelby Kelch scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds. As Oakmont doesn’t have a size advantage in most games Kelch plays a big role scoring inside and as a threat on the perimeter. Meghan Riley had eight points and four rebounds. “We’ll be playing for third place for the third time this preseason,” Voigt said. “It’s been our goal to go 2-1 in tournaments and hopefully tomorrow we will.” Oakmont will play Lincoln for third place on Saturday. The Zebras lost in overtime Friday night against Cordova 51-47.