Marauder men, women split pair with L.A. Valley
AVC women rally for OT win vs. L.A. Valley
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
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.
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.