Ma­rauder men, women split pair with L.A. Val­ley

AVC women rally for OT win vs. L.A. Val­ley

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

LAN­CASTER – It was a game the An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege women’s bas­ket­ball team des­per­ately needed.

The Ma­raud­ers en­tered their game against L.A. Val­ley trail­ing Glen­dale by two games and the Mon­archs by a sin­gle game in the stand­ings.

Af­ter a last sec­ond 3-pointer by Sara Navarro sent the game into over­time, AVC did the rest and inched closer atop the stand­ings with a thrilling 68-63 vic­tory against L.A. Val­ley, Wed­nes­day evening at Ma­rauder Gym­na­sium.

“We al­ways talk about play­ers have to make big plays,” AVC head coach Barry Green said. “They made big plays to get us back in it.”

The Ma­raud­ers (10-11, 5-2) trailed 4637 en­ter­ing the fourth quar­ter but cut the deficit to 49-45 fol­low­ing a 3-pointer by Eri­ona Wil­liams. Later in the quar­ter a missed 3-pointer by Kiana Cross was re­bounded by Niyah Page who con­verted the put back and was fouled. Page missed the free throw, but the Mon­archs’ lead was only 52-51 with 2:05 re­main­ing.

Page was the work­horse for AVC as she fin­ished with 30 points, 14 re­bounds, three steals and two blocks. Cross fin­ished the game with 16 points and five re­bounds and Wil­liams was 3-of-4 from long dis­tance and added 12 points.

Fol­low­ing a de­fen­sive break­down by the Ma­raud­ers which re­sulted in an easy bucket, the Mon­archs (11-10, 5-2) ex­tended their lead to 54-51 with 48 sec­onds left.

Fol­low­ing a missed 3-pointer by AVC, Page once again col­lected the of­fen­sive re­bound, one of her four, and was fouled. She con­verted both free throws to trim L.A. Val­ley’s lead to 55-53 with only 17 sec­onds re­main­ing.

The Mon­archs’ Bri­ana Tor­res made 1-of-2 free throws to give her team a three-point lead, 56-53. Fol­low­ing a time­out, Navarro (eight points) was some­how left wide open on the wing and

calmly drained the 3-pointer to tie the score, 56-56 with 5.5 sec­onds. The Mon­archs went to their hot hand in Re­becca Castillo who shot a 3-pointer but missed send­ing the game into over­time.

“We just had to stay solid and we played as a team. We didn’t let them get to us and we played our game tonight. Our en­ergy was off in the be­gin­ning. We were there men­tally, but not phys­i­cally,” said Page. “This was a very im­por­tant vic­tory for us. These type of vic­to­ries builds our con­fi­dence. We lost some­one (Kobe Bryant) that we re­ally cared about, so we did this for him.”

Page was Kobe-es­que in over­time as she hit a step­back 3-pointer to in­flate the Ma­raud­ers’ lead to 66-60 with less than two min­utes re­main­ing. She was only 2-of-10 from 3-point range, but hit the big one when it counted.

L.A. Val­ley’s Sophia Hughes hit a 3-pointer on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion to cut the lead in half, how­ever, the Mon­archs would get no closer.

“We still have times of­fen­sively when we’re not pa­tient. We have to let the of­fense dic­tate the shots,” Green said. “I am pleased with the vic­tory though. We al­ways know we can make runs at teams.”

AVC’s de­fense was much bet­ter in the sec­ond half as it held Castillo, who fin­ished with 18 points, to only four in the fi­nal two quar­ters. The Ma­raud­ers also forced the Mon­archs into 22 turnovers.

Men’s Bas­ket­ball L.A. Val­ley 84, AVC 67

All the AVC play­ers dawned Kobe Bryant shirts prior to the game in trib­ute to the for­mer Laker who died in a he­li­copter crash on Sun­day morn­ing. How­ever, it was the Mon­archs which played from start to fin­ish.

“We didn’t play with the en­ergy we needed,” Ma­raud­ers head coach John Tay­lor said. “We made a heck of a come­back in the first half, but we never re­ally had that sig­na­ture run we needed, es­pe­cially home.”

L.A. Val­ley (17-4, 5-2) used a 13-3 run to help build a 3014 lead in the first half over a 5-minute stretch. The Ma­raud­ers kept chip­ping away at their deficit and Justin Hill caught the hot hand late in the first half.

Hill net­ted back-to-backto back 3-point­ers for AVC to cut the lead to 36-30. Hill then con­verted the old-fash­ioned 3-point play and the Ma­raud­ers inched closer trail­ing only 38-35 at that point. L.A. Val­ley held a slim 40-37 lead at half­time.

Hill led all scor­ers with 19 points and drained four 3-point­ers. The Mon­archs though had a more bal­anced scor­ing at­tack with five play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures. Da’Jour Lewis fin­ished with 16 points and eight re­bounds for AVC and team­mate Ju­lian Wil­liams net­ted three 3-point­ers en route to 11 points. L.A. Val­ley’s bench outscored the Ma­raud­ers’ 40-12.

Tay­lor wasn’t happy with the num­ber of 3-point­ers his team shot, a to­tal of 30, while con­vert­ing only eight.

“I thought we took some re­ally quick threes and some of them were re­ally bad. That’s not how we win,” he said. “We didn’t do a good job of­fen­sively tonight and I don’t think we played with much en­ergy. They also out­re­bounded us which is a com­mon theme in our losses.”

Ev­ery time the Ma­raud­ers (8-13, 3-4) would mount a come­back and cut the lead to three or four points, the Mon­archs would re­spond and bal­loon the lead back to dou­ble dig­its.

“We came out su­per slug­gish. If we had high en­ergy on de­fense it would have led to bet­ter of­fense. We have to main­tain our en­ergy for 40 min­utes,” said Hill. “We have to get back in the lab and test our­selves men­tally. We have to ask our­selves is this what we want.” at

JOHN SAN­DERS/Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

JUMPER — An An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege women’s bas­ket­ball player puts up a shot against an L.A. Val­ley de­fender on Wed­nes­day night at An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege in a West­ern State Con­fer­ence game. The Ma­raud­ers ral­lied for an over­time vic­tory.

JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

PAY TRIB­UTE An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege men’s bas­ket­ball play­ers wore t-shirts to honor Kobe Bryant prior to their game on Wed­nes­day night at AVC.

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