By D.A. Phillips / Contributing Writer
One game shy of reaching its first state championship since 1988, the LBCC women’s basketball team lost to the host Ventura Pirates, 90-81, on Saturday, March 8.
Free throws would prove to be detrimental for the Vikings as they made 10-14 while the Pirates connected on 25-35.
LBCC’s record-breaking season ended with the fourth-round playoff loss.
Vikings sophomore Crystal Cockerhan picked up two quick fouls in the first 90 seconds of the game, which resulted in the 6-2 center only playing four minutes in the first half. To make matters worse, LBCC sophomore guard Shakeena Benton went down 30 seconds later with an ankle injury. The Pirates jumped out to an early 17-6 lead.
LBCC stormed back to trail, 46-45, at the half.
LBCC’s first team All-American freshman guard Abbey Goodsell led all scorers with 14 points in the first half and was 4-8 from behind the three-point line.
Vikings Coach Mike Anderson said, “In the first half of the game, we did not have our best five on the floor.”
The Pirates, led by sophomore Adrianne Sloboh’s 24 points and 13 rebounds, came out strong in the second half. Ventura put the pressure on the Vikes, getting to the free throw line 25 times while taking only 26 shots from the field in the second half.
In the game, LBCC out-rebounded Ventura, 46-30.
Taafua said, “Our defense was poor and we could have executed better.” She finished with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
With a good returning class and some good recruiting, assistant coach Pablo Martinez said, “We look to be making another run for state next year.”
Sophomores Shaina Arnold, Dana Arrington, Benton, Kristina Bonilla, Cockerhan, Symphony Logan, Destinn Romain, and Jasmine Williams all played their last game as a Viking.
Ventura advances to the final four as they take on No. 2 north seed Fresno on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m. Earlier that day, No. 1 north seed San Joaquin Delta will play No. 2 south seed Mt. San Antonio. The winners will play for the state championship at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 16. All three games are at Cerritos College.