Lady Huskies return to state championships
SAN JACINTO, CA — The East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team defeated Mt. San Jacinto College 76-65 in the CCCAA Southern Regional finals and advanced to the State Championships for the second-consecutive year.
ELAC outscored Mt. San Jacinto in the first quarter 24-18. The Eagles soared in the second quarter and outscored ELAC 21-4, which led to a 37-28 halftime lead for the home team.
Team playing was key to each run.
In the first quarter, ELAC scored nine baskets, eight off assists, led by ELAC freshman guard Alissa Gomez (Roosevelt High School) with five of those assists.
The Eagles returned the favor in the second quarter with eight connected shots from seven assists of which three assists were from freshman guard Nokomis Cabrera (Twenty Nine Palms HS).
The game began with seven lead changes.
ELAC broke the fourth tie with an 11-1 run with 3:21 left in the first period, which began with a sophomore forward Jessica Sanchez (Roosevelt HS) jump shot assisted by freshman forward Tiffani Martinez (Montebello HS).
Mt. San Jacinto carried the momentum of its 37-28 halftime lead into the second half.
The Eagles built their largest lead of the game, 41-32, with 6:53 left in the third quarter when freshman forward Britney Thomas (San Jacinto HS) scored from a layup, assisted by sophomore guard Sarina Johnson (Hemet HS).
The crowd, the largest the Huskies have played in front of all season, was very loud until ELAC closed the quarter with a 9-0 run, which ended with Martinez’s two free throws for a 49-48 Husky lead.
“They were a lively crowd until our runs brought out the noise from the Huskies fans,” said ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner.
ELAC outscored Mt. San Jacinto 21-11 in the third quarter. The Huskies continued their run with nine-consecutive points to open the fourth quarter.
The 18-0 ELAC run turned a 48-40 Eagle lead with 2:09 left in the third period, to a 58-48 Husky lead with 8:42 remaining in the game.
ELAC outscored the Eagles 27-17 in the fourth quarter, which included the Huskies hitting 8-of-11 free throws. Gomez was a perfect 5-of-5 at the line in the fourth quarter.
“The Lady (Huskies) executed pressure defense to perfection,” said Turner.
Five Huskies scored in double figures led by sophomore forward Jessica Sanchez who came off the bench to add 16 points to the ELAC win and a team-high three steals.
Martinez scored a team-high 19 points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Yasmine Tweedy (Chesterfield, Virginia Manchester HS) scored 13 points.
Gomez and freshman post player Anastasia Tsybaeva (Burbank HS) each scored 10 points. Gomez had a game-high 13 assists and Tsybaeva totaled a game-high three blocked shots.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Gates (Gahr HS) hauled in a team-high six rebounds.
Thomas led Mt. San Jacinto with the game’s only double double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. She is the Southern California Player of the Year, and an All-State South Region First Team recipient.
Eagle sophomore forward Genaya Wilkinson (San Jacinto HS) scored a team-high 16 points and had eight rebounds.
Mt. San Jacinto outrebounded the Huskies 47-30.
ELAC, however, outshot the Eagles at the line, 81 percent (17-of-21) to 45.5 (10-of-22), outscored the Eagles on fast break points 19-13 and had less turnovers (10 to the Eagles’ 22).
ELAC improves to 23-9 overall. Mt. San Jacinto finished its season at 30-2.
The Huskies return to the State Championships as the Southern Region’s No. 2-seed for the second straight year. Last season’s Huskies finished 30-3.
ELAC, 23-9 overall this year, will play the North’s No. 1 seed City College of San Francisco (28-3) in the first of two semifinal games. Game time is 5 p.m. at Las Positas College on Friday, March 11 in Livermore. State finals are Sunday, March 13.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia