By Bill Paterson
On Wednesday night, St. Francis solidified its position as the team to beat in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball playoffs.
The Troubadours gave nationally ranked St. Mary's a battle, leading by as many as eight points in the third quarter, before falling 75-67 in their non-league game in Stockton.
St. Mary's, ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN RISE and used to blowing teams out on its home court, couldn't shake the Troubadours (20-6) until the final quarter.
Seniors Kendall Kenyon and Ali Gibson led the way for St. Mary's (20-2), . Kenyon had 22 points and 16 rebounds; Gibson added 19 points.
Briana Charles topped St. Francis with 19 points and Ellie Earley added 16. MacKenzie Conarro and Kristin Anderson each had 11 points for the Troubadours, ranked No. 2 by The Bee.
St. Francis finishes the regular season with a Delta River League game Friday at No. 6 Pleasant Grove.
The Rams finish their regular season tonight against Tokay. The reigning two-time CIF D-III state champions will compete in the D-II playoffs this season.