In what feels like deja-vu all over again, the PCC Lancers potential trip to this years state tournament came to a disappointing end. For the third time in four years, PCC has been unable to overcome the ELAC Huskies, losing 78-53, in the third round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs this past Saturday.
Going into the game, the sixth-seeded Lancers (19-11) were the clear underdog against the third-seeded Huskies (27-6).
And it showed.
After an abysmal first quarter, the Lancers picked it up in the second and played the best they had played all game, going on a 9-0 run and cutting a 17-point lead to seven, 27-20. The Huskies went scoreless for the next five minutes until a putback by Zaida Velasquez sparked a 12-0 run, making it 39-25 at halftime.
ELAC started the third scoring the first seven points, building their lead up to 21. By the end of the third, the game turned into an old-fashioned blowout, with the Huskies leading 60-33 and comfortably cruising to a win and a spot in the CCCAA State Championships.
“This game was quite heartbreaking but I feel that the youth of my team learned a lot about their collegiate career through that game,” guard/forward Daniela Mendez stated. “The season as a whole was challenging considering the amount of freshmen we had, the challenges of trying to get used to each other’s playing styles and the simple fact that we just did not know each other very well. I think it comes down to one thing with this team. We should have embraced each other as people/sisters before we embraced each other as teammates.”
It’s been a struggle for the Lancers all season when it comes to putting the ball into the hole, as they converted on only 15-66 (23%) of their field goals. Shooting only 6-23 (22%) from three-point land and converting on only 17-30 (57%) from the charity stripe, it’s not hard to see why PCC was unable to secure the win.
The Huskies also shot poorly from the field overall, going 26-67 (38%), but were lights out from the charity stripe, going 20-23 (87%) and 6-13 (46%) from three.
For the Lancers, freshman point-guard Cosette Balmy lead the way, tallying 17 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Redshirt freshman center Dariel Johnson got into early foul trouble, sitting out all but one minute of the second quarter. Statistically, Johnson flirted with a triple-double, recording 15 points, 9 rebounds and a staggering 8 blocks to go along with 3 steals.
Although the team as a whole shot poorly from deep, sophomore guard Jade Lin shot four for nine from three, finishing the game with 12 points.
“Our team is normally a pretty good shooting team when it is needed, Lin stated. “We had good shot selections but they just weren’t falling. Everyone has their off games and I think that our game against ELAC was one of those days.”
With the loss against ELAC on Saturday, the Lancers have lost 12 of their last 14 games to the Huskies dating back to 2014.
Reflecting on the season, head coach Joe Peron said, “Overall, I was pretty happy with our season even with our physical derailments, adversity that students athletes have to deal with… So I was happy overall.”