Celine Barber is turning out to be quite the clutch player for Sierra.
The sophomore guard buried a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, and the Timberwolves forced a turnover on the game’s final possession to escape with a 42-41 win over Cordova on Tuesday.
Sierra advances to the Cosumnes Oaks Classic winners-bracket semifinal, where Monterey Trail of Elk Grove awaits.
The win was the second straight for the Timberwolves (2-7), who were coming off last Friday’s 61-54 victory over Stagg, which was torched by Barber’s 17 points that included two late free throws that helped seal it.
She finished with 13 Tuesday, taking advantage of the attention Cordova (2-5) placed on center Lia Unterholzner. The 6-foot center paced Sierra with 16 points, doing most of her damage early on while leading an 18-8 run in the first quarter.
After dropping seven in a row to start the season, Sierra coach Steve Unterholzner is hoping this little stretch is a sign of positive things to come.
“It was closer than it probably should have been, but in the fourth quarter we showed the poise necessary to hit big shots when we needed to,” coach Unterholzner said.
Sierra encounters Monterey Trail (7-3) at 6 tonight.
Cosumnes Oaks 57, Lathrop 56
The Spartans fell in heartbreaking fashion to the tournament host, missing two free throws with no time left.
Jazlyn Simon led the way with 17 points, sophomore center Loreal Taylor pumped in 14 points and eight rebounds and Jasmine Calix was a perfect 3-for-3 on 3-pointers while scoring 13.
It was a step in the right direction for Lathrop, which is winless through five games. It was 21-all after a torrid first quarter, and Cosumnes Oaks (5-5) took a 36-32 advantage into halftime.
“We’re getting closer,” Lathrop coach Ed Fang said. “We played a good team up there and put together four solid quarters, and that was our goal. It was just unfortunate that we didn’t convert the free throws at the end there.”
Up next is Folsom today at 4:30.