All-Rose City team selection Desiree Loving scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and made five assists
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After laying a 70 point smack-down over West Los Angeles College in the first round of the 15th annual Rose City Classic, the Lancers women’s basketball team looked composed to once again finish atop the early season tournament as champions.

Justin Clay / Courier  Center, Kaitlyn Parks grabs a rebound and completes a lay up for two points against West L.A. College in the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Nov. 14. Lancers won 104-34.
Justin Clay / Courier
Center, Kaitlyn Parks grabs a rebound and completes a lay up for two points against West L.A. College in the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Nov. 14. Lancers won 104-34.

Instead, the Lancers (1-2) would go on to suffer back-to-back losses at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium for the first time in two years. With its two straight loses, the Lancers finished fourth in the tournament, its lowest finish ever.

“We have some work to do,” head coach Joe Peron said. “That’s what the practices are for, to help us correct our mistakes and work on the things that were not going for us well at this tournament. Shooting is one aspect of the game, but it wasn’t our only problem. We’re going to recover from this setback and get back to Lancers basketball.”

In its lone win of the tournament, sophomore transfer guard Skai Thompson led the Lancers. The versatile guard slashed to the basket at will, finishing the game with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Lancers to the 104-34 thumping.

“Skai is an aggressive player,” assistant coach La’Nette Dillard said. “Her capabilities and what she brings to this team is amazing. She is definitely a leader.”

Freshman Emily Thach added 14 points off the bench and sophomore Tyler Crockom almost recorded a triple double with an impressive stat line of nine points, nine assists and 10 steals.

“We just have to play together and keep getting our scorers in position to score,” Dillard added.

In the semifinals on Friday, the Lancers were upset by El Camino College 75-62. The Lancers saw their longest winning streak against any opponent end at 24 straight games with its loss against the Warriors. ECC had not beaten the Lancers since 1996.

Against the Lancers, El Camino came out connecting on 15 of its first 21 shots from the floor, mostly on outside jumpers. The hot shooting helped the Warriors take a 37-23 halftime lead.

Although ECC cooled down in the second half, the Warriors finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field (29 of 58) thanks to four 3-point field goals. Reserve forward Sydney Chase made four out of the team’s six three-pointers to help tie teammate Shontalene Trudeau with 14 points each.

The Lancers were again led in scoring by Skai Thompson with 17 points and five rebounds. Sophomore point guard Desiree Loving added 13 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Lancers, but the starting backcourt shot a disappointing 6-for-27 from the field. Sophomore center Kaitlyn Parks added 12 points in the middle for the Lancers, but couldn’t establish herself inside due to early foul trouble. Parks ended the game with only two rebounds. Freshman guard/forward Tyler Polk added nine points off the bench.

“Playing with Skai is great,” said freshman guard Emily Thach. “She’s a great teammate on and off the floor and she really brings out the best in her the team. She makes you want to play better.”

In the third place final Saturday afternoon, All-Rose City team selection Loving scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and made five assists, but it wasn’t enough as Irvine Valley defeated the Lancers, 70-58.

IVC went on a 22-8 run in the first half to take a commanding 30-16 lead. The Lancers were 0-for-16 from the 3-point line and could not overcome the early deficit. Irvine Valley is the same program that defeated the Lancers in the playoffs to end the 2012-13 season.

Jasmine Kennon led four Irvine players in double digit scoring with 16 points. The Lancers received 16 points and eight rebounds from sophomore center Kaitlyn Parks.

“We have six freshmen coming off the bench and they’re filling big roles,” Dillard said. “We have to go back and revamp our defense and pull out the intensity and basically work together to win.”

Long Beach City College downed El Camino, 71-61, in an all-South Coast Conference final to win the tournament trophy. The Vikings were led by Shakeena Benton with 20 points.

The Lancers had won 10 of 13 Rose City Classics (two were pool play tourneys with no defined champion in 2010 and 2012). The Lancers next play at the Glendale College Tournament Friday-Sunday, Nov. 22 to 24.

 

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