In front of a large crowd in the final home game of the season, the VC women's basketball team reached elite status for the 16th time in head coach Ned Mircetic's 27 seasons with a 65-50 victory over Los Angeles Valley College. Katie Campbell scored a game-high 26 points, including a 30-footer to close the third quarter, to lead the Pirates (27-5), who also got a two-for one deal on double-doubles as Davina Del Castillo totaled 11 points and 13 rebounds and Kyleesha Green had 10 points with 10 boards.
Ventura trailed 5-0 before Campbell's jumper got them on the board with 8:10 left in the opening period. A Campbell lay-up followed by a Dougan drive and lay-up gave VC its first lead of the night, 6-5. The Monarchs answered to retake the lead before a Del Castillo lay-up gave the PIrates the lead for good with 5:43 on the clock. Green hit two free throws and Dougan scored a short jumper to open up a 12-7 advantage. The Pirates led 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Playing for the fourth time this season, the teams' familiarity took a toll on the offenses in the second quarter. VC and LAVC shot a combined 5-33, including 0-10 from behind the 3-point arc, and the teams scored 15 points total. Ventura outscored the Monarchs 7-2 over the first five minutes of the period to open up a 26-15 margin. VC managed just a pair of free throws from Dougan in the last half of the quarter, but still led 28-19 at halftime.
LA Valley cut the Pirate lead to six points twice early on in the third quarter, and on each occasion, Dougan had the response for VC. Her 3-pointer from the left wing gave Ventura a 35-26 lead with 6:09 on the clock, and LAVC never got that close the rest of the way. The Monarchs came back to 36-25 at the 4:23 mark, but Del Castillo answered with a lay-up and Campbell followed with a triple. The teams then traded scores until Campbell's buzzer-beater made it 50-37 at the end of the period.
Ventura maintained the double-digit advantage throughout the fourth quarter, and were never threatened down the stretch by the Monarchs, advancing to the state tournament with the 65-50 victory.
THe Pirates, the No. 3 seed from Southern California, will play North No. 2 San Francisco in the state quarterfinals on Friday March 10. Game time at Las Positas College in Livermore is scheduled for 7:00 pm, and the game will be carried live on www.cccaasports.org with a video link on VCweplayhard.com.