Lady Jaguars advance with convincing win over Modesto, 42-32

It was their first playoff win in recent memory.

Angel Carrisosa / Times Staff
The Lady Jaguars celebrate ahead of their playoff game.

The Lady Jaguars came out to a packed auditorium full of hopeful fans on Feb. 22, seeking to move on to the second round of the playoffs with a good performance.

And perform they did.

The game was initially deadlocked at zero points apiece for a solid three minutes, but once the Lady Jaguars scored their first basket, they never looked back. Their opponents from Modesto Junior College looked lost on the court, aimlessly passing the ball around, unable to find an opening in the Lady Jags’ stalwart defense. These empty possessions often led to either a well-contested jump shot or an unforced turnover, which gave the Lady Jaguars ample opportunities for easy transition points on the other end of the floor

“We struggled a little bit making shots, but I thought we played hard, and we did a lot of great things,” said Coach Terri Oberg, who has been coaching the Lady Jags for 34 years.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Lady Jags held a 17-point advantage over their opponents. Modesto was slightly more competitive in the third period, even shrinking the lead to 12 off of a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the quarter. This elicited hushed murmurs from the fans, who seemed anxious that the momentum was turning in favor of Modesto, and that the fourth quarter would see the game draw even closer.

However, Modesto shrank back into their first half habits of unproductive ball movement, in large part because the Lady Jaguars continually dominated on the defensive side of the ball, ultimately denying their opponents any chance at a last-minute rally.

Izzy Campbell, the game’s scoring leader, said the key for her team’s success was “communication”, and that the team is “always there for each other”.

Kira Levandoski, the team captain and a vocal leader of the Lady Jags expressed that the team feels, “…super excited because we had a lot of ups and downs this season, but this is what [the Lady Jags] have been working for.”

Unfortunately, the Lady Jags would end their run with a loss to Laney College a few days later, but after the Modesto win, Levandoski expressed her gratitude to the fans.

“Thank you for coming out and supporting all of us this year, you guys do not go unnoticed and without you guys we wouldn’t be able to make it this year, thank you everybody,” Levandoski said.

However, Levandoski also made it clear that she has her eyes set on bigger targets outside of athletics.

She shared that she chose psychology as her major because she feels that it’s important as an athlete to focus on mental health.

“As an athlete, I know I struggled with mental health myself, so I want to be able to help others, too,” Levandoski said.