With only five seconds left on the clock, the women’s basketball team managed to keep their playoff hopes alive with a crucial defensive play Saturday night.
This was the first time this year that the Lancers’ faced off against the Palomar Comets. They were led by four All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) First Teamers. Facing such a stacked team was not a problem for assistant coach Garry Potts.
“Our confidence is setup to play these type of games because we are one of the most dominant conference in the state so I think we’re prepared for it,” Potts said. “We don’t think about it, we think they have to stop us.”
The first half of the game was dominated by the Lancers. They managed to play well both offensively and defensively. They had eight 3-pointers and 9 offensive rebounds and a total of 10 defensive rebounds in the first half of the game. Freshman Melissa Felix, who averages 12 points per game, got hot during the second quarter, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to put the lancers up 29-19.
Sophomore Jade Lin ended the first half with a Kobe Bryant look-alike 3-point buzzer beater to put the Lancers on top with the score of 45-28.
Defense started to drift away from the Lancers in the second half.
“We allowed them get a few open looks,” said freshman Dariel Johnson, who had a total of 10 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Once again, Felix got hot and hit another Lancers 3-point buzzer beater to end the third quarter and keep the Lancers lead to 15 points.
The fourth quarter is where the anxiety and the nail biting began. The Comets went on a 15-2 run and cut down the Lancers’ lead to two points, 60-58. With eight seconds left on the clock, sophomore Daniela Mendez made the heroic block that preserved the Lancers’ hopes of staying in the playoffs. With only five seconds left on the clock, freshman Cosette Balmy made a free throw, putting the Lancers up 61-58 and sealing their ticket to the next game.
Defense was the theme of this game and defense in the end won the game for the Lancers.
“But in the end defense won the game with just moving our hands and communicating with each other,” said Johnson.
The lady Lancers’ will face off against the No. 3 seed East Los Angeles in the third round of playoffs on Saturday, March 9. Head coach Joe Peron and the girls are ready.
“Just sustain that first half defense into the second half and if we do that will generate some more points for us the second half so we’ll be good,” said Peron.
This will be the third time this year that both will face off against each other. The Lancers lost both games to the Huskies. Defense will have to come out stronger than ever if they want advance to the state finals.