The Memorial High pool on Wednesday evening delivered Central Section Division II semifinal water polo winners Memorial and Hanford with contrasting history.
The doubleheader began with Memorial's top-seeded girls requiring goals from Kristin Campbell and Sophia Gonzalez in a 40-second flurry in the final 1:30 to secure a 7-5 victory over No. 4 Exeter.
That means a first section title game appearance for the Panthers (26-8), who play No. 3 Golden West on Saturday at a site and time to be determined today.
"Yes, the girls recognize what it means, and it's a little nerve-racking," said Memorial coach Kristi Rose, a 2000 graduate of the school.
Conversely, Hanford's third-seeded boys showed no nerves whatsoever, receiving eight goals from Trey Cox and coasting to a 20-13 conquest of No. 2 Memorial.
And that means a second-straight section championship trip for the Bullpups (28-4), who will play at top-seeded Clovis North (19-8) on Saturday at a time to be determined today.
Hanford, as a No. 1 seed, defeated No. 2 Dinuba 14-11 in overtime for last year's boys D-II title -- the third section crown in Bullpups history.
They can expect the level of competition to rise against Clovis North, which placed second to D-I top seed Clovis in the section's strongest league, the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
"Yes, that gives them an advantage," Hanford first-year coach Jan Wantland said, "but we also come out of a very good league."
The Bullpups shared the West Yosemite League crown with El Diamante, which lost but 10-9 earlier in the season to Clovis.
Defense is Clovis North's strength.
"It's going to be hard," Cox said. "They're a very good team."
The Hanford-Memorial game matched teams that escaped with overtime wins over WYL members in the quarterfinals -- the Bullpups 15-13 over Lemoore and the Panthers 18-15 over Redwood.
But Hanford made clear there would be no game-ending drama in this one, leading 6-3 after the first period, 11-6 at halftime and then blowing it away by scoring six unanswered goals in a sequence that closed the third period and opened the fourth.
Senior Jared Linney closed his career by scoring five goals for Memorial (23-8).
The Panthers' girls led 4-0 at halftime. But all comfort was lost when Exeter's Kari Hill scored with 1:31 remaining, reducing the deficit to 5-4.
"Anything can happen in a minute and a half when you're only leading by one," Rose said.
But then Exeter continued a gamelong defensive strategy of collapsing on Memorial's Nia Apodaca in front of the cage and Campbell and Gonzalez scored with little resistance to clinch it, 7-4, with 45 seconds to go.