Despite last second heroics from sophomore guard Skai Thompson, one missed free-throw ended the Lancers women’s basketball season.
The No. 4-seed Lancers (22-8) were upset by South Coast South rivals Long Beach City College, 64-62, but they had an opportunity to even the score at the very end.
Thompson had the chance to tie the game with a free throw when she was fouled after scoring on a lay-up with 3.2 seconds left in the game. But her shot from the charity stripe bounced off the back of the rim, sealing the Lancers’ fate.
“We fought hard,” assistant coach La’Nette Dillard said. “Our ladies shouldn’t hang their heads. This season has been a long roller-coaster ride. I’m very proud of our girls, we stepped up when we needed to but tonight wasn’t enough.”
Despite the missed free-throw, Thompson was the leading scorer for the Lancers. Thompson finished the game with a team-high 23 points and five rebounds, including five 3-point field goals.
“Skai was very impressive for us last night,” head coach Joe Peron said. “She did a really good job offensively and defensively. I’m proud of her. Unfortunately for Skai the one free-throw she attempted the whole game didn’t go in and she feels like it’s all her fault but its not.”
Sophomore center Kaitlyn Parks recorded a double-double in her final game, scoring 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Tyler Crockom added eight points and five assists, while letterman point guard Desiree Loving added six points and a team-high 10 assists before injuring her ankle with five seconds remaining in the game.
Shooting guard Shakeena Benton led the Vikings with a game-high 27 points and sophomore center Crystal Cockerhan added 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.
“I talked to our kids about playing with no fear and about playing with courage,” Long Beach head coach Michael Anderson said. “In the second half we went back to who we are and that’s a full-court, man-to-man pressure team.”
Down 41-31 at halftime, the Vikings’ defense clamped down in the second half, limiting the Lancers to just 12 points in the first 15 minutes. The Lancers did manage to take a 4-point lead with 3:30 left, but Benton answered with a jumper and teammate Jasmine Williams made two free throws to tie the game.
“It was a good, hard fought loss,” Peron added. “We match up so well with Long Beach and each game has come down to the last seconds. I know my kids gave me everything they had and I’m proud of the way we fought.”
The Vikings will play at the No. 1 seed Ventura College in the SoCal Regional Final on Saturday. The winner will advance to the State Championship.