A challenging battle awaited the lady Lancers as they entered the second-round of the playoffs, and would soon face a disappointing end to their season. The Lancers lost by an 11-point margin, 58-47, to Mt. San Jacinto Eagles on Friday.
With a hard fought match from both Lancers and Eagles, the teams struggled offensively, with their main focus being on the defensive side of the game.
Troubling calls through the game such as point guard Cosette Balmy’s fourth foul; 8 seconds into the third quarter, led her to sit out for the remainder of the game. Balmy starting the third quarter might not have been the best move for the Lady Lancers, according to head coach John Peron. Guard/small forward Marina Latu’s ankle injury in the second quarter hurt the team as a whole, with effective plays withering away the ongoing momentum of the game. However, Latu was able to manage the pain and push through back on the court.
“I loved the competition and intensity. I just wanted to play and win” said Balmy.
“We both were inconsistent in getting into the flow of the basketball game, so it was a struggle to become in sync consistently, that’s for sure. So it was just one of those games where you try to tough it out, but my team played hard and they know that,” said Peron.
Sparks of hope for the PCC shined after tying up the game at the end of the third quarter 48-48. Shooting guard Lizette Espinoza brought the team back into motion when she made her second 3 pointer in a row. The hope of keeping up with the Eagles was short lived.
With star players such as guard/forward Dariel Johnson leaving her mark during this season with the first ever triple-double with 12 blocked shots, and leading rebounder in PCC history, the Lady Lancers as a unit “would have loved to be playing for a ring,”said Johnson. They were grateful for everything that transpired throughout the season to reach the playoff games.
“My overall teamwork alongside my teammates was to lead by example on the court, whether that was making a hustle play, a big block, or getting each other’s flow to push us to play harder and together” Johnson said.
Being able to hold onto as many as seven sophomore players into this season, the Lancers retained the opportunity to reach as far as they did, with sophomore leadership as catalysts for this season’s team overall. Onto the spirits that next season brings, the Lancers look forward to the 2020-2021 season with four returning players to lead the way in showing new teammates how the game is played at PCC.
“For the sophomore girls who have finished their PCC season, what I say to them is thank you. They are always going to be the first group of young ladies that I got to coach as freshmen and now see them graduate as sophomores from my first two years of coaching. They have given me nothing but a beautiful learning experience and I wish them nothing but the best in their next career,” said assistant coach Judith Espinoza.
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