After the last home-game victory for the season was played on Wednesday night against L.A. Trade-Tech, the Lancers suffered a tough loss during Friday’s away game against Mt. San Antonio College, with a close 4-point loss that would make their journey into playoffs not as positive as was intended.
With Wednesday’s game ending in a close call win against Trade-Tech College, the Lancers felt that their winning streak into the playoffs would continue. Constant aggression and passion through each play allowed PCC to lead for the entirety of the game, not allowing the Trade-Tech Beavers to take over in points at any moment. The court’s energy was at an all time high, as the ladies knew their positions on the team meant more to them than just basketball.
“We come all together, and we play as a team to play some really good basketball. When we do that we can win and that is what I seen tonight in these young women,” said head coach Joe Peron. “We played a tenacious defense in the second half, and I really appreciate this tenacity and intensity that we share on the court because it leads us to do a really good job,” he said, as the team prepares to walk into the conference playoffs for the first time in over 10 years.
Prominent leaders of the team such as point guard/small forward Merina Latu brought life to the court with constant aggression, despite her collective demeanor that she exhibits.
“I think it really rubs off on other people,” Latu said. “If I’m calm, they’re calm and I was just confident that we were going to win anyway, period!”
Wednesday’s game highlighted the skills of leading players such as point guard Cosette Balmy, as well as guard/forward Dariel Johnson; these two women shared the average equal points scored throughout the game. Though Balmy experienced a tough fight due to two back to back knee injuries on the court, she did not fail to be the prominent force that would carry the Lancers to a victorious 63-57 win.
Moving along to Friday’s match against Mt. SAC, the ladies faced a disappointing 4-point margin loss, making the focus on playoff games to become slightly off their intended track.
“Overall the game was a dog fight from the beginning to the very last second, but we knew that’s how it was going to be, especially since it was to win the title for the conference,” said assistant coach Judith Espinoza. “We did have a lot of opportunities to score some easy points such as layups and free throws, but we just kept missing, and that’s what hurt us most in the end. For it being the last game before playoffs, since we lost, I felt that it fired up the girls to prepare for our next opportunity of success which would be to win regional playoffs, make it to the state tournament, and then the state championship game.”
Though the tough fight was brought upon PCC , shooting guard, Loizette Espinoza made a necessary 3 point shot in the middle of the fourth quarter, holding significant to the Lancers as they were down by 6 points previous to the clean shot. This shift brought the Lancers to be down by 3, and it fired up the young women more on the court and on the bench, putting them back on the map with a closer fight. Unfortunately, that fire and passion fell just short.
“The future to us looks like each game we play until the very last one, our girls are going to give it their all. I know we can go far and I know that the girls know it as well, and it’s going to be a matter of who wants it more each game of the way,” said coach Espinoza.
The Lady Lancers will be stepping into round 2 of the playoffs after a bye-pass in the first round playoff brackets, and will play at Mt. San Jacinto College on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.