MISSION VIEJO, CA — The No. 3-ranked East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team is off to its best start in school history after a 62-57 win against Saddleback College in the championship game of the Annual 5th Lady Gaucho Classic.
“We played outstanding defense limiting their best scorer to (nine) points,” said ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner. Saddleback’s top scorer, sophomore guard Laura Tapia, averages almost 16 points per game. “And we had excellent post defense, taking away their two very good inside players,” said Turner.
“We also had excellent guard play from sophomore guard Allissa Gomez (Roosevelt High School)…and Farrah Castillo, but were shorthanded without one of our best rebounders, Gloria Ortiz (LA Roosevelt HS), who was ill,” said Turner. Ortiz had 35 rebounds in the Mission College Tournament earlier this month and made the All-Tourney Team as a result.
“But the team pulled together and showed great conditioning as we really kept the pace that we wanted,” said Turner. “Saddleback had to play overtime the night before and didn’t get off the court until 9:30 p.m. and had a quick turnaround at 2:00 p.m. The game plan was to run them and it was very successful.”
Gomez won her second straight MVP award and totaled 30 tournament points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. She passes the ball first and only take shots when open, a sign of a true leader.
Freshman guard Monica Garcia Silva (Garfield HS) was named to the All-Tournament team. Garcia had 45 tournament points and 24 rebounds. She had the only double double in the title game with 15 points scored and 11 rebounds.
Equally impressive was freshman guard Farrah Castillo (Rowland High School), “Who had an outstanding (tournament) performance,” said ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner. Castillo scored 41 tournament points, had 10 rebounds, a team-high 14 assists and 4 steals.
ELAC came out the gates against Saddleback (4-2) with unselfish play, much passing and a press that led to an 8-0 lead with four Huskies scoring two points each, Gomez, Garcia Silva, Castillo and sophomore guard Ikeba Allen (Gardena HS).
ELAC led 16-6 after the first quarter and 33-18 at the half, never relenting their focused press.
ELAC is deep and Turner plays the entire team. Sophomore guard Vianey Chavez (Schurr HS) came off the bench and made 3-point jump that gave ELAC a 23-12 lead, with 4:36 remaining in the half. Sophomore guard Tiffani Martinez (Montebello HS) connected on a 3-pointer for an ELAC 15-point lead, its largest, at the close of the half.
In the third quarter, Castillo connected on a jump shot that gave ELAC its largest lead of the period, 50-36, with 0:53 seconds left. In the fourth quarter, sophomore center Anastasia Tsybaeva (Burbank HS) made a jump shot with 6:42 left to play that gave ELAC its largest lead of the game, 57-42, Saddleback responded with an 11-2 run to close the gap to 59-53 with 1:14 left. Saddleback got as close as three points with 0:22 seconds left. Castillo scored the final two points and ELAC won its second straight tournament.
The Huskies, 6-0 overall, next competes in the Cypress College tournament, Friday Dec. 2 to Sunday Dec. 4. ELAC is the defending champion.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia