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Imperial Lady Tigers fall short in the Division I championship

The No. 2 seeded Tigers continue to make history despite the loss to No. 1 seed Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A big day Friday for the Imperial Tigers basketball team as they made their way to the D1 Championship game, the first in program history.

Deja Vu for Imperial as they played in a championship game last year, but in Division IV losing 29-23 to the Fallbrook Warriors.

This year, back in San Diego at St. Augustine High School where Imperial faced Mater Dei Catholic.

The girls fought hard and with heart but unfortunately fell 58-43.

After the game head coach Rich Ponchione says he's proud of his girls and their journey.

"I mean it's the first time in school history we've gone this far. It's a great honor to be here tonight. Mater Dei Catholic is known for their basketball," says Ponchione. "We knew it was going to be a really tough game, they played in open all year, so you know we came in, we fought we battled. We were hoping for a little closer or better outcome but it just didn't go our way tonight."

Imperial Tigers receiving their CIF patches and trophy after the game

Senior Sierra Morris, showing emotion after the game, says this team has come so far and their success will not go unnoticed.

"Even though we made it to the championship and lost, I still feel we made history in the valley," Morris said. "Not many teams can say they been to the D1 championship and us girls were able to do it and we tried to represent our city as best as we could."

Though they didn't take home the crown, the Imperial Tigers qualified for the state tournament once again and will find out their first opponent Sunday night.

Article Topic Follows: High School Sports

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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