GALT — No one ever will know about the high school career that could have been.
As it stands, Halie Bergman has had two outstanding years at Turlock Christian, one that will continue at regionals despite Wednesday's 60-40 loss to Capital Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 semifinals.
The story of the other two seasons? All you have to do is look at the heft of the brace that protects her left knee the one that plays on despite two major surgeries and a third considered minor.
Bergman and her Eagles teammates will go on to play in the NorCal tournament, which starts Wednesday. After that will be what everyone hopes will be a productive and healthy playing career at the University of the Pacific.
But in this game, decided by an unstoppable 23-2 Capital Christian run over a six-minute span of the third quarter, the weight of her final shot at a section title was being carried on Bergman's shoulders.
Her effort wasn't nearly enough.
"We were on a roll and had a lot of momentum going into the second half," Bergman said. "We made some key mistakes at the beginning of the quarter and foundered a little bit. Live and learn, and we tried to fight back at the end as my teammates fought their hearts out."
The Eagles, 24-5 after claiming a Southern League co-championship with Ripon Christian, closed the first half on a 9-2 run, then got two free throws from Kate Farrar on their opening possession of the second half to take a 26-22 lead.
They wouldn't get another field goal until Bergman drove for a score in the final seconds of the quarter to cut Capital Christian's lead to 45-30.
In that span, the Cougars (20-9) simply dominated on both sides of the ball. Speedy guard Sarah Nalyanya did a great job denying Bergman the ball, and the Eagles couldn't find anyone to pick up the offensive slack.
At the other end, Capital Christian scored at will. Reserve guard Ashley Jones hit two 3-pointers and added a layup during the run, during which the Cougars seldom missed.
"(Jones) was the best defender I've seen on Halie all year," said TC coach Edwin Santiago. "She was right in her business and did it all herself without any help. And Jones surprised me when she hit those shots. She wasn't the one we were expecting to be able to hurt us."
Capital Christian, which will be shooting for its first section title Friday against powerful Brookside Christian, got 17 points from Haleigh Filer, and 14 points and 21 rebounds from center Monique Colbert.
Bergman finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, only the third time this season she was held under 20 points.
Despite the output low for her and no matter how far the Eagles advance in the regionals, Bergman's legacy at Turlock Christian is secure, especially in Santiago's mind.
"The will, the desire has always been there," Santiago said. "I'll always remember and appreciate that about her. She never quit, she never stopped fighting."
BROOKSIDE CHR. 85, RIPON CHR. 37 Ripon Christian, looking for its first berth in a section title game since 2003, found itself in an 8-8 tie three minutes into the game.
Then, RC blinked. Or at least that's how long it seemed to take for Brookside Christian (25-4) to take complete control. BC, which traps, presses and attacks for 32 minutes, rolled to a 28-15 lead after the first quarter, which it extended to 51-20 at halftime.
Jenny Wickham led RC with 15 points and Teagan Manus added 11. Tiara Tucker led Brookside with 35 points, while Raky'ra Gabriel contributed 16.
How relentless was Brookside? It pressed until the final buzzer of a game that was played the entire fourth quarter with a running clock, and hit its final 3-pointer with four seconds remaining.
Brookside will be attempting to claim its second straight D5 title on Friday against Capital Christian. Brookside has won its two playoff games by a combined 195-61, forcing the section is to take a hard look at moving it into Division 4 for the 2014 postseason.
Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150 or follow him on Twitter, @modestobeek