In nearly two decades, no other Hughson High girls basketball team has seen as many wins in a season or as much success as this past Huskies group that had their year come to a close in the Division-V CIF State Tournament after a 60-43 loss to No. 2 Branson High on Thursday night.
“It was a learning curve and we are a better program because of it,” said Hughson head coach Tim May. “Crazy that it is over… such highs and lows. We have obviously gotten a lot of attention from the school and within the community, but some things they don't know is how many college coaches started to reach out because the team was making noise… I feel more honored to watch them grow and see the lessons we teach — the unselfish play, love for each other and ability to play as a team.”
In his first year, May’s Huskies went 12-11 overall and 4-8 in the Trans-Valley League, and last year they bested that performance by going 16-11 and 6-6 in league play.
This year they ended up going 21-10 and 8-4 in the TVL.
The Huskies surprised many by reaching the Division-IV Sac-Joaquin Section Semifinals and earning a berth in the D-V CIF State Tournament.
They kicked off SJS postseason play by beating No. 5 Orestimba (25-4) on the road as the No. 12 seed following a 55-48 win.
They followed up by beating their league rivals No. 4 Livingston (21-7) in the quarterfinal round after a 39-38 last second win.
Unfortunately, their hopes of a section title came to a close in the semifinals when they traveled to No. 1 Argonaut and fell in a 69-60 contest. Argonaut won the Section Championship against El Dorado in the final.
In just his third season as head coach, May led the Huskies to the final four in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV bracket and to a state victory after they toppled No. 7 Wheatland as the No. 10 seed in a 58-48 road win to open up tourney play.
This led to Thursday’s game and a chance to reach the regional semifinals.
They met their match in a Branson High team that was 24-9 for the year, following the victory.
Hughson stayed in the game for as long as they could after the halftime score read, 23-23.
Following the third quarter, Branson had built a 40-35 lead.
Branson’s ability to drain the long ball helped them go on a 20-8 run to secure the win over the Huskies.
“A long week for sure, and this special run made us learn a lot of lessons,” said May. “I am trying to put that culture in Hughson and talk about being at the right place at the right time and getting the dedication and right athletes to play this and the parents, so much more to this than just the team and minutes played and we are excited that it is starting to pay off.”
Of the 13 players on this year’s varsity roster, eight of them were underclassmen.
“This next year is going to be different,” May added. “Amazing juniors coming back and great lower players coming back and we are looking forward to it. We use the sport as a tool to be able to shape and teach life lessons, it is more than basketball.”