Despite a valiant effort until the final buzzer, the Pirates' men's basketball team had their season come to an end Wednesday night with a 77-73 loss to LA Valley College at the Athletic Event Center in the first round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs. Timothy Turner scored 21 points with nine assists and four rebounds while Tone Patton totaled 21 points with six boards and four dimes to lead the effort for Ventura (17-12).
Both teams came out tight as they combined for three turnovers and six missed shots in the game's first 90 seconds. Dayveon Bates broke the ice for VC with an offensive rebounds and putback at the 18:25 mark of the first half before the Monarchs came back with a -pointer on their way to an 8-3 lead. Lamont Landers hit back-to back 3-pointers off assists by Patton and Turner, respectively, as the Pirates took a 19-16 lead with 11:52 on the clock. Jelani Bell assisted Turner's old-fashioned 3-point play and VC held a 22-18 advantage a minute later.
LA Valley countered with an 16-1 run over nearly six minutes of game time to go ahead 34-23 with 5:04 left in the first half. Patton broke the skid with a lay-up and VC scored six of the final eight points of the half to make it a 36-31 game at intermission.
Three minutes into the second half, the Monarchs had scored five unanswered points and the Pirates faced another double-digit deficit. And as they had done all season, the Pirates continued to fight. A steal, a bucket and a 3-pointer by Bell was followed by a successful shot from range by Turner and Ventura netted eight straight points to make it 41-39 with 15:05 remaining in the game. LAVC had an answer with back-to back field goals as they stretched their lead back to seven, 50-43 with 12:01 on the clock, then Ventura made another run. Turner assisted another Landers 3-pointer to make it 50-49, but then LA Valley hit two free throws to maintain their lead. This pattern continued until Bell connected for a lay-up to tie the score 57-57 with 8:09 remaining. After a Monarch basket, Keron Bailey connected for another tie at 59.
LAVC took the lead for good on the next possession, and a 6-0 run gave them a 65-59 advantage at the 6:01 mark. A lay-up by Turner and two free shots from Bell pulled he Pirates to within 59-67, but the Monarchs were able to score on the next trip down the floor to hold off the charge. The VC deficit extended to eight points, 75-67, in the final minute, but two 3-pointers from Patton closed the gap once again. But it was not enough for the Pirates as they fell by a final score of 78-74.
Bell and Landers each ended the game with 11 points and Bates had eight with six rebounds for Ventura.
The Pirates, who won a share of their fourth consecutive Western State Conference North Division crown, ended the season at 17-12.